Fourteen rescued following tragic incident, which killed four

Four people were killed and 14 were rescued when a helicopter crashed into the North Sea.

Volunteer

lifeboat crew members from Aith and Lerwick RNLI lifeboat stations in the Shetland Isles attended the incident on Friday evening at the request of the Coastguard.

The multi-agency emergency response 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.

Tragedy

On Saturday, 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 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 the 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.

Aith 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.

Pictures: RNLI lifeboats involved in rescue operation following North Sea helicopter crash. Credit: RNLI