Service held to remember Sumburgh disaster workers

Wreckage from the crashed Chinook helicopter at Sumburgh in 1986.
Wreckage from the crashed Chinook helicopter at Sumburgh in 1986.
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Dozens of people who died offshore have been remembered at a service held the day before the 30th anniversary of the worst helicopter disaster in the oil and gas industry’s history.

A total of 45 people - 43 passengers and two crew - lost their lives when a Chinook helicopter crashed while approaching Sumburgh Airport in Shetland on November 6 1986.

The annual service of commemoration for all those who have died while working offshore was held in Aberdeen’s Kirk of St Nicholas on Saturday.

The service included an act of remembrance, where the names of those added to the book of remembrance were read out, followed by a piper’s lament and a minute’s silence.

Rev Pauline Nixon, whose husband Neville died in the Sumburgh disaster, offered a reflection, while Josh Watson, five, whose grandfather was killed, lit a candle.

Among others being remembered is Iain Stuart, 41, who was killed in a crash off the coast of Norway in April this year.

Copies from the archive of front pages from The Scotsman. Pictured is a page dated 7 November 1986 showing a story about Chinook helicopter crash off Shetland. 
23rd April 2008. Picture by JANE BARLOW

Copies from the archive of front pages from The Scotsman. Pictured is a page dated 7 November 1986 showing a story about Chinook helicopter crash off Shetland. 23rd April 2008. Picture by JANE BARLOW

Rev Gordon Craig, chaplain to the oil and gas industry, said: “It is really important for families to realise their loved ones are still being remembered and respected by the industry. The service is an opportunity to commemorate all those no longer with us.

“Thirty years on from the Chinook crash may seem like a long time but the memories are still vivid for those who lost their loved ones suddenly and tragically. The pain may be more manageable but there will still be times when the loss is felt deeply.”