Helicopter Ditches in North Sea Near Offshore Platform

The Aberdeen Coastguard was alerted to a ditched Super Puma Bond crewchange helicopter with 16 passengers and two crew on board in the North Sea, off the coast of Scotland and adjacent to an ETAP production platform, located at 57 degrees 17.7N 001 degrees 39.7 E.

All 18 people have been recovered alive.

The site is approximately 125 miles due east of Aberdeen. People on board the installation saw the incident unfold, and reported it to the Coastguard.

The Aberdeen Coastguard immediately declared a mayday into the area and tasked a rescue Bond helicopter. A further Jigsaw rescue helicopter joined in the search.

The Platform managers advised the Coastguard that it had a medic with full first aid cover standing by, and rig personnel were standing by keeping watch on the ditching site, which is about 500 meters from the platform.

Upon request the Air Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Kinloss mobilized a Nimrod aircraft (R51) into the area to provide further search and rescue capacity and act as air co-ordinator. A further military helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth (R 137) also joined in the search.

The rig standby vessel Caledonian Victory responded immediately to the mayday and began proceeding into the area.

There were initial reports of lifejacket lights being seen in the water, and 3 flares also being seen from south and east of the platform, and the helicopter fuselage was also seen on the surface. Further signals were also picked up from personal locator beacons attached to lifejackets.