North Sea helicopter crash leaves rig workers stranded

Ship and RNLI rescue 19 but oil rig workers are still waiting for help

(file photo)

Workers on the West Phoenix drilling rig, located north of the Shetland Isles are still stranded, after the helicopter that collects them crashed on October 22nd.

The EC225 Puma helicopter was taking 19 crew to the rig for shift changes when it crash-landed in the sea, some 14 miles west of Fair Isle, between Orkney and Shetland. A nearby tanker, Nord Nightingdale, deployed its fast rescue craft and retrieved many of the crew, whilst the RNLI attended with lifeboats from Aith and Lerwick. All crew were rescued and no injuries were reported.
The crew were taken back ashore, but the helicopter operating company, CHC Helicopters, has not been able to muster a replacement aircraft to change the crew on the drilling rig. A boat was able to transfer some of the rig crew, but the remaining personnel will have to wait until next week, when CHC Helicopters hope to have four L2 type Puma aircraft operational.

The crash, caused by a crack in the gearbox casing, comes just six months after the manufacturer, Eurocopter, grounded all EC225 Puma helicopters for safety reasons, after another North Sea ditching.

See the video of the Puma rescue in May

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