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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 15:03 GMT
Helicopter flight box recovered
The Eurocopter AS365N which crashed
The helicopter crashed 25 miles off the coast, killing seven men
The flight data recorder from a helicopter which crashed into the Irish Sea has been recovered.

The "black box" will now go to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch's (AAIB) headquarters in Hampshire.

Seven men lost their lives when the Eurocopter SA365N helicopter crashed over Morecambe Bay during December after leaving Blackpool Airport.

A post-mortem examination has shown their injuries were consistent with having been in a helicopter crash.

Ongoing investigation

The helicopter was on a routine flight between rigs for gas firm Centrica when it crashed into the sea 25 miles off the coast.

No emergency call was received before it crashed 500 yards away from the third rig. The AAIB launched an inquiry into the incident, the cause of which is not yet known.

The AAIB said: "The recorder, together with a substantial amount of wreckage from the helicopter, will now be taken to the AAIB's headquarters in Farnborough for analysis."

The six men confirmed dead include Centrica-employed rig workers Robert Warburton, 60, from Heysham, Leslie Ahmed, 48, from South Shields, John "Jake" Shaw, 51, from Fife, and Alfred Neasham, 57, from Durham.

Pilots Stephen Potton, 51, from Blackpool and Simon Foddering, 33, from Preston, also died.

A search for the body of Keith Smith, 57, from Stockton-on-Tees, was called off shortly after the crash.

An inquest into the deaths of the men has been opened and adjourned earlier this month.




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