Thursday February 19th, 2009
18 SURVIVE NORTH SEA HELICOPTER CRASH
When a Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea last night everyone feared the worst for the sixteen passengers and two crewmembers. But in a virtual miracle, that reflects last months Hudson Bay plane crash, everyone survived.
At around 6.45pm the Bond Helicopter was attempting to land on a rig 120miles east of Aberdeen when it ditched into the water. By 9pm the rescue team spokesman reported. 'Rescue helicopter Bond 1 has found two life-rafts tethered together - with a full count of persons.'
The biggest surprise is that no one was even badly injured. As coastguard, Mark Clarke said, “This is on the level of the Hudson River incident. It's a very successful rescue.'
Fortunately the helicopter stayed afloat and the passenger and crew were able to escape to the life-rafts. Three were picked up by helicopter and flown to a nearby platform, whilst the rest of the survivors were taken by lifeboat to support ship Caledonian Victory. Coastguards described the survivors as “walking wounded” and that some were suffering from exposure to the cold.
'This is absolutely the outcome we'd been hoping for.' Said Dick Mutch, spokesman for Bond.
'It's just wonderful. I was hoping we'd get some out but to get them all is fantastic.' Added Jake Molloy of offshore union OILC.
The rescue involved four helicopters (including two scrambled by the RAF) and several supply vessels. The Super Puma ditched about 500m short of the rig in very low cloud. The cause of the crash-landing is currently being investigated.
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