Helicopter Ditches in North Sea; All Passengers and Crew Rescued


In a dramatic rescue reminiscent of the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River last month, 18 people were rescued from the waters of the North Sea on Wednesday after a helicopter ditched close to an oil and gas platform off the east coast of Scotland.

Reuters reports that coast guard spokesman Fred Caygill said that there were no serious injuries from the incident.

The civilian helicopter went down about 500 yards from a platform owned by the oil giant BP in an area of the North Sea known as the Eastern Trough Area Project, Caygill said. Fifteen of those on board were rescued by the platform’s own lifeboat, and the other three were airlifted to safety.

Caygill said that it was too early to say what had caused the accident and that it was unclear whether the helicopter had been landing at or taking off from the platform.

The rescue mission, which included three military helicopters and a Nimrod aircraft, was also hampered by darkness, the coast guard said.

The Super Puma helicopter went down about 125 miles east of the port city of Aberdeen and was on one of thousands of civilian helicopter flights a year that service the many oil and gas platforms in the North Sea.

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