Miracle evacuation of ditched chopper
Two crew and 16 passengers aboard a Super Puma Bond crew change helicopter were part of a successful escape last week
Two crew and 16 passengers aboard a Super Puma Bond crew change helicopter were part of a successful escape last week, after their aircraft plunged into the North Sea off the UK coast. Miraculously, everybody on board the helicopter survived after it ditched in the sea 125 miles due east of Aberdeen.
The Aberdeen Coastguard was alerted to the incident after workers at the BP operated ETAP production platform installation saw the event unfold. The coastguard immediately declared a mayday in the area and tasked a rescue Bond helicopter, as well as a Jigsaw rescue helicopter.
“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,” said a statement released by the Aberdeen Coastguard.
Oil and Gas UK, the representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, has come out in full praise of those involved in the rescue operation, as well as the crew and passengers who managed to safely evacuate the helicopter.
“Oil & Gas UK applauds all those excellent people involved in the swift and safe rescue of all on board the Super Puma that ditched in the North Sea. UK helicopter operations are the safest in the world thanks to the oil and gas industry's commitment to improving offshore safety performance over recent decades, through investment in research, new systems and new aircraft,” a company statement read.
“The extensive training undertaken by offshore workers to enable them to escape safely from a ditched helicopter was successfully put into practice. Since 2004, BP has invested over a hundred million pounds implementing the Jigsaw system, a new regional approach to rescue and recovery offshore. The rescue was smoothly executed using these Jigsaw resources.”
BP has now announced they will refrain from using this type of helicopter gain until further investigations are carried out.
“It was a decision that was taken in light of the incident yesterday,” a BP spokesman said. “We thought it would be prudent not to use them.”