An oil rig helicopter carrying 18 workers crashed last night into the North Sea, about two nautical miles west of Sumburgh, on Shetland Island in the U.K. Four passengers died and 14 others were rescued.
Police Scotland informed that one passenger is yet to be recovered: ” Police Scotland can confirm that the bodies of three people have now been recovered and a fourth person remains unaccounted for.”
BBC has announced the names of the deceased. They were Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.
The Super Puma L2 helicopter, owned by CHC, on its way from the Borgsten Dolphin semi-submersible drilling rig , was on approach to Sumburgh Airport yesterday at about 6.30 p.m. local time when contact was lost with air traffic control.
Shetland Coastguard immediately requested helicopter assistance. The Coastguard Rescue helicopter based in Shetland, the RAF rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth and two Bond helicopters proceeded to the scene along with the RNLI all-weather lifeboats from Aith and Lerwick.
According to several sources, the aircraft lost power and hit the sea. It was not a controlled landing.
“The helicopter just dropped, no time to brace. It rolled when it hit the water,” one survivor told Sky News.
The owner of the helicopter,CHC, said it would ground all its helicopters: “We do not know the cause of the incident. A full investigation will be carried out in conjunction with the U.K. Air Accident Investigation Branch. As a precaution, we are temporarily suspending all of our Super Puma L2 flights worldwide. Also, in deference to the incident and the investigation, we are suspending all flights Saturday by our U.K. operations.”