Helicopter ditches in North Sea

A helicopter carrying workers to an oil rig ditched into the sea 29 miles off the coast of Aberdeen earlier today. All of the 14 people on board, which included […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A helicopter carrying workers to an oil rig ditched into the sea 29 miles off the coast of Aberdeen earlier today. All of the 14 people on board, which included two pilots, have been confirmed as safely on land.

The Bond helicopter carried out a “controlled landing on water”, said ConocoPhillips, while on its way from Aberdeen to the oil firm’s jack up drilling rig, ENSCO 102, in the North Sea.

Two helicopters and two lifeboats joined the search and rescue mission when they were alerted to the incident after midday. Nine of the passengers were taken to the Aberdeen Royal Hospital via helicopter while the remaining five chose to take a lifeboat to shore.

The oil firm said none of the people on board were ConocoPhillips employees, but personnel from a number of contractors working on the drilling rig. The flight appears to have been routine, as the oil firm says such flights take place daily.

ConocoPhillips said the cause of the helicopter’s controlled landing was not yet known.

A spokesperson for the Coastguard said: “The great story is that 14 people have survived.”

It is one of several major incidents involving a helicopter in the North Sea in recent years. In April 2009, a helicopter crash in the North Sea resulted in the deaths of 16 people. Another crash involving 18 passengers in February 2009 had no fatalities.