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Super Puma Ditches In North Sea - 16 Sob

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Helicopter with 16 on board ditches in North Sea



A helicopter carrying 16 people has ditched in the North Sea, Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Wednesday.


There is no immediate word on survivors.


The BBC quoted the coast guard in Aberdeen, Scotland, as saying a major rescue operation was underway. Coast guards said the crash occurred around 2 p.m. local time.


Media reports have indicated the crash occurred about 56 kilometres off the coast from the village of Crimond in northeast Scotland.


Two Royal Air Force helicopters and a Nimrod airplane are heading for the area, along with ships in the vicinity, said a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.


A supply vessel in the vicinity called Normand Aurora had dispatched one of its boats to look for survivors, the agency said.


Scottish media outlet STV reported the helicopter was a Bond Super Puma aircraft. Bond has confirmed the one if its aircraft was involved.


The crash comes less than a month after a Super Puma helicopter ditched in the North Sea with 18 people on board.


All of those involved in the Feb. 18 crash survived.


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Breaking News4:15pm UK, Wednesday April 01, 2009


Eight people have been killed and another eight are missing after a helicopter ditched in the sea off the north east Scottish coast, Sky sources say.


Helicopter came down off Scottish coast




The Bond Super Puma aircraft, with 14 passengers and two crew, was returning from an oil platform, just before 2pm, when it went down 35 miles from Aberdeenshire.


Eight bodies have been found and the search continues for eight other people, sources say.


The incident comes about six weeks after another Bond Super Puma with 18 people on board ditched in the North Sea.


Aberdeen Coastguard was co-ordinating the latest search and rescue operation, which included two RAF helicopters and a Nimrod marine patrol aircraft.


Helicopter operator Bond confirmed one of its helicopters was involved in today's crash.


BP said the aircraft was operating on behalf of the oil giant and it was returning to shore from the Miller oil field.


The Coastguard has confirmed the helicopter was a Super Puma AS 33L Mk II which was an earlier model of the one which ditched on February 18.


A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said: "A supply vessel called Normand Aurora, which was quite close by, has put their fast response boat into the water and is looking for survivors."


An MCA statement said: "Aberdeen Coastguard have begun broadcasting a mayday signal into the area.


"RNLI lifeboats from Peterhead and Fraserburgh are heading for the scene now."


In the previous incident, the aircraft had gone down as it approached a production platform owned by BP. Everyone survived the accident.


An interim report into the February incident from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the helicopter had run into a bank of fog as it prepared to land.


It added the commander, Michael Tweedie, had been unable to identify the helideck of the BP platform.


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Absolutely terrifying news! Never before have I been so disturbed than in the last several weeks. For those involved in yet another unbelievable tragedy, my heart goes out to you and your families. Another wake up call for all of us who risk our lives everyday.

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