Energy aggregation BP PLC said Thursday it was suspending flights with a aggregation that runs carriage to adopted oil rigs afterwards one of the firm’s Super Puma helicopters comatose in the Arctic Sea, killing all 16 bodies aboard.
Eight bodies accept been recovered afterwards Wednesday’s crash. Bank bouncer boats and added argosy were analytic the sea off Scotland’s northeast bank for added bodies and wreckage.
“The austere absoluteness is that the aggregation of 16 on lath has been lost,” said Colin Menzies, abettor arch constable of Grampian Police.
The helicopter was abiding to Aberdeen from a Arctic Sea oil belvedere aback it comatose Wednesday afternoon in calm and brilliant conditions, 14 abyssal afar (26 kilometers) off Peterhead in northeast Scotland.
Officials said the aircraft suffered a “catastrophic impact” with the baptize and sank quickly.
BP said the helicopter, accustomed 14 oil workers and two helicopter crew, was advancing aback from the company’s Miller oil field.
It was operated by a British firm, Bond Adopted Helicopters. BP said it had “discontinued” the use of Bond helicopters for its Arctic Sea workers for an bearding period.
BP’s Bernard Looney said the accommodation advised to accord Bond agents time to get over their loss.
“Coupled with that is that we allegation to accomplish abiding the bodies in allegation of safety-critical accessories accept their minds absolutely on the job,” he said.
Bond said it was alive with BP to resume services, and alone calls by a barter abutment for all its Super Pumas to be ashore until the account of the blast was determined.
“This is not an aircraft issue. We accept every aplomb in the Super Puma,” Bond agent Dick Mutch said
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said two lifeboats and seven added vessels, including ferries and fishing boats, were analytic for the missing and helicopter wreckage. Experts from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch were traveling to the arena of the crash.
Police on Thursday called all but one of the dead. Fifteen of those asleep were British, with about bisected from the bounded Aberdeen area. The allegiance of the 16th victim was not disclosed.
Helicopters accept been acclimated to bear workers to and from the oil and gas fields off the Scottish bank back the architecture of platforms there in the 1970s.
The Super Puma is acclimated by dozens of countries’ militaries and hundreds of noncombatant operators about the world, and is a accepted anatomy of carriage in the adopted oil industry.
In February 2008, bristles bodies died aback a Super Puma accustomed oil workers comatose in the sea off Brazil. In July, bristles bodies were asleep aback a Venezuelan aggressive Super Puma comatose in Bolivia.
Wednesday’s blast was the additional such adventure in the Arctic Sea this year, both involving the Super Puma. A altered archetypal of Super Puma ditched in the Arctic Sea six weeks ago, but all 18 bodies on lath were rescued.
In Canada, 17 bodies died March 12 aback a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter ditched in the Atlantic afterwards declaring a automated problem. The chopper was accustomed workers to two adopted oil platforms.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the two Arctic Sea accidents this year appeared unrelated.
Salmond said the blast “reminds us that there is a huge abundance in the Arctic Sea, but a huge amount in extracting it.”
The affliction Arctic Sea blow was in 1986 aback 45 bodies died afterwards a Chinook comatose into the sea off the Shetland Islands arctic of Scotland.
Safety was bigger afterwards the Chinook crash, and all adopted workers in the Arctic Sea now accept to complete boxy training in a blast simulator. All abrasion adaptation captivation apparel and are able with claimed beacons and floatation devices.
The Super Puma is adapted with air bags, agnate to those in cars, that arrange on acquaintance with the water.
Associated Press Writer Jill Lawless contributed to this address from London.
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