All rescued after helicopter ditches in North SeaNews // February 19, 2009
At 18.40 on February 18th Aberdeen Coastguard were alerted to a ditched Super Puma Bond crew change helicopter with 16 passengers and two crew on board in the North Sea adjacent to an ETAP production platform. (57° 17.7N 001° 39.7 E).
The site is approximately 125 miles due east of Aberdeen. People on board the installation saw the incident unfold, and reported it to the Coastguard.
Aberdeen Coastguard immediately declared a mayday into the area and tasked a rescue Bond helicopter. A further Jigsaw rescue helicopter joined the search.
The weather on scene was moderate with seas of 2–3m with 0.5 nautical mile visibility, but darkness is hampering the rescue operation, and the cloudbase is below the nearby platforms helideck level at approximately 500–600m.
The platform managers advised the Coastguard that it had a medic with full first aid cover standing by, and rig personnel are standing by keeping watch on the ditching site which is about 500m from the platform.
Upon request the Air Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Kinloss mobilized a Nimrod aircraft (R51) into the area to provide further search and rescue capacity and act as air co-ordinator. A further military helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth (R 137) also joined the search.
The rig standby by vessel Caledonian Victory responded immediately to the mayday and began proceeding into the area. Other vessels also joined the search.
There were initial reports of lifejacket lights being seen in the water, and three flares also being seen from south and east of the platform, and the helicopter fuselage was also seen on the surface. Further signals were picked up from personal locator beacons attached to lifejackets.
All personnel and crew on the helicopter were subsequently reported to have been safely rescued.