Bomb 'hoax' leads to air evacuation of oil platform

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The Independent Online

The Special Boat Service and the RAF joined a huge emergency response to reports of a bomb on a North Sea oil platform, which included plans to evacuate more than 500 people. The Special Boat Service and the RAF joined a huge emergency response to reports of a bomb on a North Sea oil platform, which included plans to evacuate more than 500 people.

The incident at the Flotel Safe Scandinavia platform was being treated as a hoax last night and a 23-year-old woman had been detained.

Jake Molloy, general secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee union, said a woman on the rig had told colleagues she had dreamt a bomb was on the platform.

"Before long it had grown arms and legs," he told the Daily Record. "The next thing, workers were being evacuated." The alarm was raised on an accommodation block which is attached by a bridge to an oil rig in the Britannia field.

Fourteen helicopters, including five from the RAF, were involved in the rapid airlift, 115 miles north east of Aberdeen. The accommodation block was evacuated and the workers moved across the bridge to the rig after the alarm was raised, but the emergency was over before all the workers had been airlifted away.

Aberdeen Coastguard said 161 of the 539 workers had been flown out before the rescuers were stood down in the afternoon.

At 5pm, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that all of its aircraft had been sent home. The company which runs the rig, Britannia Operator Ltd, then began returning the evacuated workers to the platform.

Managing director Kathy McGill said: "We are very relieved that this has turned out to be a false alarm, but we obviously had to treat this seriously and act appropriately to ensure the safety and well-being of all our people."

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