North Sea helicopter forced into emergency landing

Picture: Newsline

Picture: Newsline

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A helicopter carrying North Sea oil workers was forced to make an emergency landing after an equipment problem.

The Bond-operated Super Puma EC225-L is thought to have been heading to an installation off the west of Shetland when the crew noticed a suspected technical issue with the landing gear.

The aircraft was north of Orkney when it looped back over the island and came down to hover at Kirkwall Airport.

A total of 15 offshore workers were then made to disembark from the helicopter before it flew back to Aberdeen – but Bond insisted that workers did not jump from the aircraft.

A coastguard spokeswoman said: “There was an issue with the landing gear. They were unable to land. So they had to hover and allow the passengers to jump off at Kirkwall.

“The helo was then routed to Aberdeen Airport.”

Passengers made the dramatic exit from the helicopter, on contract for oil giant BP, at Kirkwall at around 1pm. The flight is believed to have originally been heading for the Foinaven deepwater oil field, 120 miles west of the Shetland Islands.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that emergency services were involved in an incident at Kirkwall airport on the Island of Orkney.

“Following what is believed to be a mechanical issue which affected the ability to land a commercial helicopter, 15 passengers disembarked from the helicopter at Kirkwall.

“No-one was injured as a result of exiting the helicopter and all are awaiting onward travel.

“The helicopter was flown to Aberdeen Airport, where it landed safely at 2.30pm.”

A spokesman for Bond said: “Passengers did not jump from the aircraft – all the wheels were on the tarmac.

“One of our helicopters disembarked passengers in Kirkwall after a cockpit indication light illuminated.

“The aircraft then returned to Aberdeen where engineers diagnosed a minor technical issue with an on-board sensor.

“The aircraft’s airworthiness was not compromised and will shortly be returned to service.”

• An earlier version of this article carried a report that oil workers were forced to jump from the aircraft. This has now been corrected.

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