Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Helicopter crash body recovered

Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, who died after a Super Puma L2 helicopter went down in the North Sea
George Allison, 57, from Winchester, who died after a Super Puma L2 helicopter went down
The Aith lifeboat responding to the helicopter that ditched in the sea off Shetland

The body of the fourth victim of a North Sea helicopter crash has been recovered from the wreckage as efforts get under way to transport the aircraft remains to shore for examination.

The Super Puma was carrying oil workers from the Borgsten Dolphin platform when it plunged into the sea off Shetland, killing three men and one woman.

Fourteen people including two crew survived the crash, which occurred as the CHC-operated helicopter approached Sumburgh airport on the southern tip of Shetland's main island at around 6.20pm on Friday.

Rescuers recovered three bodies in the aftermath of the incident and the fourth was removed from the wreckage earlier on Sunday.

Tributes have been paid to the victims, named as Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham; George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin in the Highlands; and 59-year-old Gary McCrossan, from Inverness.

No cause has been established and efforts have begun to transport the wreckage back to shore for examination by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). It is understood that the remains of the Super Puma AS332 L2 have been lifted on to the deck of the vessel Bibby Polaris.

Shetland coastguard manager John Webster said earlier: "The heavy-lift ship is out at the moment trying to recover what wreckage it can from the sea. After that the AAIB will decide where to take it."

All Super Puma flights to and from UK offshore installations have meanwhile been suspended.

CHC has grounded the model involved in the crash and suspended all UK commercial flights of three other Super Puma types.

It follows a recommendation by the offshore industry's Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) which urged the precautionary measure until there is "sufficient factual information" to resume flights.

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