LONDON – Three people remained unaccounted for on Friday after a helicopter transporting 18 people between oil rigs in the North Sea ditched, according to the Scottish coastguard.
The coastguard said an air and sea search was being conducted and lifeboats had been dispatched to the reported crash site near Shetland after the alarm was raised at 6:30pm.
The Super Puma helicopter was travelling from the Borgsten Dolphin platform to Sumburgh airport on Shetland when it came down two miles west of its destination.
“At the present time 15 people have been accounted for and three people are still missing,” said the coastguard.
“The people that were involved are in varying stages of injury, no one has walked away from this without a scratch.
“The helicopters and lifeboats on scene are continuing to search. A specialist medical team has been flown out from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to Lerwick by the RAF helicopter from Lossiemouth.”
Nine of the rescued passengers were helicoptered to the island of Lerwick with one taken off the aircraft on a stretcher, the BBC reported.
CHC, the aircraft’s operator, said it was flying for oil company Total.
“The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at approximately 6:20pm when contact was lost with air traffic control,” said a spokesman.
“We can confirm there were 16 passengers on board, and two crew.”
It is the latest in a series of incidents involving helicopters in the North Sea.
In May, all 14 people on board a Super Puma helicopter were rescued after it ditched off the coast of Aberdeen.
Another helicopter ditched in the North Sea last October, but all 19 people on board survived.
Sixteen men died when a Super Puma helicopter plunged into the sea when its gearbox failed as it was flying from BP’s Miller platform to Aberdeen in April 2009.