WORK has begun on Shetland on a memorial being built as tribute the 79 people who lost their lives in four separate accidents involving aircraft and crews based on the islands.
The memorial, a stone horse-shoe shaped structure with two teak benches, featuring the names of all those who were killed in the disasters, is being built close to Shetland’s main airport at Sumburgh.
Those being honoured in the memorial include the 45 men killed in the Chinook disaster in November, 1986, and the 17 lives lost in the Dan Air plane crash in 1979. The memorial will also include the names of the 17 men who lost their lives in two North Sea helicopter tragedies – the Brent Spar platform accident in 1990 and the Cormorant Alpha accident in 1992.
A Sikorsky S61 helicopter transferring oil workers in the Brent oil field, 112 miles North east of Sumburgh airport, crashed while landing on the Brent Spar platform on 25 July 1990 with six fatalities and a Eurocopter Super Puma helicopter crashed alongside the Cormorant Alpha platform on 14 March, 1992, with the loss of 11 lives.
A spokesman for the memorial group said: “A small committee is currently raising funds for the construction and upkeep of the memorial. We have recently gained planning permission for the site and have sourced local contractors for the construction. Work has now started with the first turf being cut today.”
He added: “The memorial is due to be unveiled in late May this year and the committee are looking for survivors, relatives or anyone affected by the accidents in order to make contact, inform them of the project, and if possible invite them to attend the opening ceremony.
“The memorial is for the relatives and people involved so they can have somewhere to come and reflect. In front of the memorial, there will also be a board with detailed information on it enabling people to see the locations where the accidents occurred.”