Helicopter safety call after crash

This Is Local London: Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, who died after a Super Puma L2 helicopter went down in the North Sea Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, who died after a Super Puma L2 helicopter went down in the North Sea

There are calls for the suspension of all Super Puma helicopter flights to and from offshore platforms after four people died when a craft transporting oil workers onshore went down in the North Sea.

An oil and gas industry safety group has recommended the temporary grounding of the model after a helicopter carrying 16 workers and two crew plunged into the water off Shetland last night.

Tributes have been paid to the four victims as rescuers worked to recover one of the bodies still at sea.

Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham; George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Scotland; and 59-year-old Gary McCrossan, from Inverness, also Scotland, died when the AS332 L2 aircraft went down around two miles west of Sumburgh airport at 6.20pm.

The helicopter operated by CHC for oil company Total was transporting workers from the Borgsten Dolphin platform when it is believed to have experienced a "catastrophic" loss of power.

The offshore industry's Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) said there were presently "no confirmed facts" pointing to the cause of the crash.

The body, which is made up of representatives of oil and gas operators and offshore unions, met this afternoon and agreed to recommend a temporary suspension of all Super Puma commercial passenger flights.

Fourteen people were taken to safety during a major rescue response involving the coastguard, police, RAF and RNLI. They were taken to hospital on Shetland, where two remain. The other 12 survivors have returned safely to Aberdeen.

Helicopter operator CHC said the aircraft lost communication as it approached the airport on the southern tip of Shetland's main island.

A team from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has travelled to Aberdeen to carry out initial inquiries into the incident.

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