4 confirmed dead in Shetland helicopter crash

The next time you complain about the cost of filling your tank, think on. People die to bring you the black gold.

RNLI lifeboats involved in rescue operation following North Sea helicopter crash

Volunteer lifeboat crew members from two Shetland lifeboat stations have spent the night involved in a multi-agency rescue operation after a helicopter crashed in the North Sea.

The RNLI lifeboats from Aith and Lerwick were both launched yesterday evening (23 August) at the request of the Coastguard, following reports that a helicopter had ditched into the sea west of Sumburgh airport on the Shetland Isles.

It is believed the helicopter, a Super Puma L2 helicopter, was carrying 16 passengers and two crew from the Borgsten Dolphin oil platform in the North Sea and was operated by CHC for Total, taking people to and from oil and gas platforms.

Both lifeboats made their way to the scene throughout the evening and assisted in the search for passengers with other agencies, including two rescue helicopters, a passenger ferry and a cargo vessel.

Whilst the lifeboats were still making their way to the scene, 14 people were rescued. Once on scene both lifeboats assisted in the search for four people that were unaccounted for.

Earlier today (Saturday 24 August) Police Scotland confirmed that three bodies had been recovered, two of which were recovered by Lerwick RNLI lifeboat and taken to a nearby pier. Work is now underway to recover the fourth deceased person.

A spokesman for the RNLI said: ‘Sadly the bodies of three people have been recovered in the aftermath of yesterday’s crash, and we know that agencies are working to recover the body of the fourth person. We can confirm that the RNLI lifeboat crew from Lerwick lifeboat station recovered two of those people. The lifeboat crew transported them to Sumburgh and we are liaising with other authorities as things develop.

‘Obviously this is the news that everyone, included our lifeboat volunteers, dreaded – our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those four people. We can also confirm that one of our lifeboats has also been involved in reclaiming wreckage from the scene as part of the operation.’

The wreckage of the helicopter had been situated in a fairly inaccessible position near cliffs, and weather conditions at the time was described as not particularly good. Lerwick RNLI lifeboat managed to tow the wreckage off rocks and it was being held in the shelter of a bay until a recovery operation could commence.

Media enquiries can be addressed to Police Scotland press office on 01224 306436.

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