Sixteen people feared dead after helicopter crash in North Sea

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A search-and-rescue mission was underway after a helicopter with 16 people on board crashed off the northeastern coast of Scotland in the North Sea on Wednesday, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stated.

Accident site off NE coast of Scotland in the North Sea

Police say they have recovered eight bodies, while the other eight persons aboard are still unaccounted for. The chopper was returning from an oil platform shortly before 2:00 p.m. local time when it crashed into the waters about 35 miles (56 km) from the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The aircraft involved in the accident is believed to be a Eurocopter AF332 L2 Super Puma.

"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," said a spokesman for the agency. "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 and RNLI lifeboats from Peterhead and Fraserburgh are heading for the scene now."

This February, another helicopter went down in fog in the North Sea. All eighteen people on board survived. In March, a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter carrying oil workers also crashed off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, killing seventeen people.