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article imageHelicopter crashes into North Sea, all on board are feared dead

By Julian Worker     Apr 2, 2009 in Business
Just three weeks after a helicopter crash off the coast of Newfoundland claimed 17 lives, a similar incident looks to have claimed nearly the same number of lives in the North Sea off Scotland, highlighting the dangers of working on the oil rigs.
It’s feared that all 16 passengers and crew on board a Super Puma helicopter have died after it crashed into the North Sea close to the town of Peterhead in North-East Scotland. The helicopter was returning from picking up oil workers from British Petroleum’s (BP) Miller oil and gas field 168 miles north-east of Aberdeen. The incident occurred in near perfect conditions with excellent visibility.
This happened just six weeks after 18 oil workers and crew survived when another Super Puma helicopter ditched just half a kilometre from BP's Marnock oil production rig in the Etap field in the North Sea.
Yesterday’s incident was seen by the crew of a supply vessel which headed to the site. Two RAF helicopters were scrambled as were two lifeboats from nearby Fraserburgh and Peterhead. First reports were that the would-be rescuers found a crash site not a ditching. Although the passenger were wearing immersion suits which could help them survive in the cold waters of the North Sea, they would be no protection against the helicopter hitting the water at around 150mph.
The operator Bond has no plans to ground their Super Puma fleet. Super Pumas can carry up to 19 passengers with two crew members, first flew more than 30 years ago and are used throughout the world.
This crash comes just three weeks after a similar incident off Newfoundland when 17 oil workers and crew were killed when a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter ferrying oil workers to two oil platforms crashed. Only one man survived. Sadly, it appears that there were no survivors from yesterday’s crash.
More about Helicopter, Scotland, Crash, Oil rig, North sea
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