North Sea helicopter crash: All off-shore Super Puma flights suspended as victims' bodies returned to Aberdeen

Fourth victim's body found after Aircraft carrying 18 people ditched west of Sumburgh, Shetland

The bodies of three of the four victims of Friday night’s helicopter crash off Shetland have been transported by passenger ferry to the Scottish mainland. The ferry docked in Aberdeen.

The wreckage of the Super Puma helicopter, which ditched into the sea west of Samburgh, will be brought ashore later after rescue services spent hours moving it onto a salvage vessel.

The body of the fourth and final victim on Friday has also been recovered, police say.

Investigators will now try to establish what was behind the “catastrophic loss of power” which caused the aircraft carrying 14 oil workers to plunge into the North Sea.

Those who died have been named as Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham; George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin in the Highlands and 59-year-old Gary McCrossan, from Inverness.

All Super Puma flights to and from UK offshore installations have been suspended.

Helicopter operator CHC said it has grounded the AS332 L2 aircraft which ditched without warning while carrying 18 workers on Friday evening.

The company has also suspended all UK commercial flights of three other Super Puma models following a recommendation from an aviation safety association.

The offshore industry's Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) urged the precautionary measure until there is “sufficient factual information” to resume flights. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

The helicopter was being operated by CHC for oil company Total and was transporting workers from the Borgsten Dolphin platform when it is believed to have experienced a “catastrophic” loss of power as it approached the airport on the southern tip of Shetland's main island.

The HSSG is made up of representatives from oil and gas firms, contractors, helicopter operators, offshore unions, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The group met in Aberdeen on Saturday and recommended the temporary suspension of all Super Puma commercial passenger flights to and from the UK's oil and gas installations.

This includes the AS332 L, L1, L2 and EC225 models.

CHC said it was “devastated” by the accident and would follow the recommendation, which allows for the operation of emergency rescue flights.

The HSSG will meet again on Wednesday to review the suspension unless “any significant information comes to light before this date”.

Industry body Oil & Gas UK has meanwhile arranged a meeting of operators and major contractors today to discuss ways of minimising the impact of the grounding of flights on the offshore workforce.

Of the 14 survivors, two remain in hospital on Shetland and 12 returned to Aberdeen yesterday.

One Total employee was on board and the remainder worked for contract companies, including those killed.

Mr Munro leaves behind wife Penny and 12-year-old daughter Katie.

His family said in a statement: “He will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him and his death will leave a large void in a lot of people's lives.”

Ms Darnley's family paid tribute to a “fun-loving, free spirit” who was brought up in Elgin and moved to Aberdeen aged 19.

The offshore worker is survived by parents Anne and Edmund Darnley, her sister Angela and nephew Nicholas.

Her mother Anne said: “We are shocked by the sudden loss of Sarah, who was a fun-loving free spirit who will be sorely missed.

”Sarah lived life to the full, she was easy going and a one-off. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her."

Mr McCrossan worked for Stork Technical Services. Mike Mann, a senior vice president at the firm, said: ”Our heartfelt condolences go out to Gary's family and to all of those affected by this tragedy.“

Mr Allison had been working at the Offshore Dunbar Platform as a project safety supervisor for just over a year when he was killed, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He described himself as a ”highly qualified, experienced and competent Safety Advisor“ who has worked in the offshore industry for 27 years.

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

There have been five North Sea incidents involving Super Pumas since 2009. In April that year an AS332 L2, this time operated by Bond, went down north east of Peterhead on its return from a BP Platform, killing all 14 passengers and two crew on board.

Volunteer lifeboat crews from Aith and Lerwick yesterday assisted coastguard in their attempt to recover the remaining body at sea and collect debris from the crash site.

The RNLI said it had not been possible to recover the remains from the wreckage during the operation and the crews were stood down on Saturday night.

A spokesman said: “I don't anticipate we will be involved any further, but obviously we were happy to assist as much as we could.

”One cannot imagine the turmoil that families and loved ones of those who died must be going through, and they are at the forefront of our minds at this very distressing time.“

Representatives from the oil and gas industry have set up a fundraising page in aid of the RNLI following its rescue effort on Friday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Night job: Pacha nightclub DJ, Joan Ribas, is the new kingmaker on the island
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada