Eight bodies have been recovered and another eight people are missing after a helicopter crashed in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland today.
The Bond aircraft was returning from a BP-operated oil platform just before 2pm when it went down off the Aberdeenshire coast.
In a statement, Grampian Police said: “We can confirm that eight bodies have been recovered from the North Sea after a helicopter came down around 35 miles off the coast of Crimond.
“The remaining eight persons are unaccounted for.”
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the aircraft, a Bond AS 33L Mk2, was carrying 16 people, including two crew, when it came down.
It was returning from the Miller oil and gas field, BAA said.
The MCA said in a statement: “Rescue vessels are in the process of recovering a number of fatalities following a helicopter crash earlier this afternoon. Two life-rafts were spotted in the water which were both overturned. The search is continuing for the remaining passengers and crew.”
The incident comes about six weeks after a Bond Super Puma with 18 people on board ditched in the North Sea as it approached a production platform owned by BP. Everyone survived the accident.
The alarm was raised today when Aberdeen Coastguard received a mayday call at about 13.57, and a major rescue operation was launched.
Two RAF helicopters and a Nimrod were scrambled to the scene.
They were being assisted in the search by 11 vessels, including two RNLI lifeboats.