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All feared dead after helicopter ditches in North Sea

Published Date: 01 April 2009

RESCUE workers are searching for survivors after an Aberdeen-bound helicopter ditched in the North Sea. The aircraft was returning from an oil platform in the Miller field just before 2pm when it went down 35 miles off the Aberdeenshire coast. 
There has been no official comment on the status of the helicopter’s 14 passengers and two crew.

However understands that all are feared dead.

Aberdeen Coastguard was co-ordinating the search and rescue operation, which includes two RAF helicopters and a Nimrod.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said: “A supply vessel called Normand Aurora, which was quite close by, has put their fast response boat into the water and is looking for survivors.”

An MCA statement said: “Two helicopters from the RAF have been scrambled to the scene and a Nimrod marine patrol aircraft has been diverted to the area.

“Aberdeen Coastguard have begun broadcasting a mayday signal into the area.

“RNLI lifeboats from Peterhead and Fraserburgh are heading for the scene now.”

NHS Grampian said it had put its major incident plan into action.

A statement said: “The hospital is well prepared and ready to deal with this incident.

“We will continue to assess the situation to ensure that we can respond to whatever we need to.”

Grampian Police said an emergency telephone number would be made available by BP shortly.

The incident comes around six weeks after a Bond Super Puma with 18 people on board ditched in the North Sea as it approached a production platform owned by BP. Everyone survived the accident.

An interim report into the February 18 incident from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) last week said the helicopter had run into a bank of fog as it prepared to land and that the commander, Michael Tweedie, had been unable to identify the helideck of the BP platform.

The AAIB said that “black box” recorded data recovered from the sea showed that an audio voice warning telling the crew members that they were at 100ft had not come on although it was “clearly audible” in a recording of the landing at the end of the previous flight.

Investigations into the incident are continuing, but the AAIB said a preliminary examination of the recorded information and the wreckage had shown “no evidence of any pre-impact malfunction of any major mechanical components of the helicopter”.

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  • Last Updated: 01 April 2009 3:56 PM
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