Helicopter crash lands in North Sea,19 people rescued: British coast guard

The Associated Press
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A Super Puma EC 225 helicopter used by CHC Helicopter Corp., to transport workers to oil rigs in the North Sea. —  Eurocraft photo

A helicopter ferrying workers from an offshore oil rig crash landed in the North Sea on Monday, British coast guards said, adding that all 19 people aboard had been rescued.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a statement that the Super Puma aircraft went down on its way back from a Total SA-operated rig about 50 kilometres southwest of the Shetland Islands, a Scottish archipelago deep in the North Sea. The CHC Helicopter Corp.-operated aircraft was still floating on the surface of the water when all its 19 occupants were picked up from their life raft and brought aboard a nearby tanker, the coast guards, said.

They were later flown to the Orkney Islands, a little further south.

Energy companies regularly use helicopters to move their workers to and from the offshore platforms that dot the North Sea, a vast and often unsettled body of water which lies between Britain and Scandinavia. Safety has long been a concern and Super Puma aircraft have come under particular scrutiny following a series of accidents and near-misses.

Earlier this year, air operator Bond Aviation Group suspended some of its flights after a Super Puma crash landed in the North Sea. In April 2009, 16 people died when a Super Puma en route to the Scottish city of Aberdeen plunged into the sea when its gearbox failed. Only months before, another Super Puma had gone down over the North Sea — although in that case 18 people were rescued with only minor injuries.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said in a statement that the latest incident raised “understandable concerns” which he hoped would be cleared up by an investigation.

Union official Jake Molloy echoed the statement.

“We need to provide assurances — not just to the workers but to their families — that the primary means of transporting them to and from work is safe,” he said.

Organizations: Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Total SA, Bond Aviation Group

Geographic location: North Sea, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands Britain Scandinavia Scottish Aberdeen Scotland

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Recent comments

  • Amir Shaifuddin Bin Ahmad
    November 14, 2012 - 12:43

    Everthing came with its own risk...we hv to deal with it iether we like it or not...its nature

  • PF Murphy
    October 29, 2012 - 08:23

    I wonder if the Telegram would start a running tally of these crashes and ditchings to append to the end of each story, not to keep the families in a high state of stress which they must be at each departure,but to remind the companies and the general populace of the frequency of these occurrences. Such a listing would put direct pressure on the chopper and oil companies by keeping their failings front an centre in everyone's mind.

  • Wife of off shore electrician
    October 27, 2012 - 18:28

    This has hardly been on the news at all! The guys go to work to do an honest job an should not be worrying about helicopters goin down! This is too much of a regular occurance! I for one am worried sick every time my husband leaves for work that everything is on his journey! This seems to be the norm in the industry as it certainly isn't broadcast much in the media! They guys have been stuck on rigs for 5 days now and are none the wiser what is going on

  • thank God no one was hurt
    October 24, 2012 - 15:14

    "Context is critical" Kenneth Pole. yes, it sure is. One crash is one too many. maybe more prepreventive maintenance is required. lives before profit. im sure everyone wants their loved ones to get home safely.

  • Big Neil offshore
    October 24, 2012 - 09:35

    It,s getting far too frequent . okay it ditched safely but I,m sure the breif says somewhere it was supposed to land on the heli-deck, it,s time for a proper enquiry we deserve at least that , so stop putting profit before lives GET IT SORTED worried oil worker

  • Chopperman
    October 24, 2012 - 06:10

    Doesn't help when engineers decide to put extra magnets in the gearbox to attract metal particles before they reach the chip detectors, because the warning sensors kept going off...

  • Kenneth Pole
    October 23, 2012 - 08:33

    As someone who has written about the aerospace industry for several decades and who has spent considerable time in fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft, I welcome the successful North Sea rescue as well as the ensuing investigation. It's important, however, to put this in context, i.e. how many ferry flights to and from offshore rigs are completed without incident? Context is critical.

    • big will fae the rigs
      October 23, 2012 - 12:29

      Context is all very well, so long as YOU'RE not the mug sat in the piece of crap when it goes down. There have been 4 of these super pumas go down in the last few years in the north sea, it isnt good enough. The last one from Bond was a major gear box failure where the bottom half of the main shaft dropped down, a chopper full of personnel were very lucky that day. Im sure I have ridden in that chopper a few times as well, people working offshore trusts these chopper comanies anymore and this isnt helped by the lack of info coming from the chopper companies.