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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 17:07 GMT
Wife of offshore crash man speaks
John Shaw
John Shaw had been working over the Christmas period
The widow of a man killed when the helicopter he was travelling in crashed into the sea has spoken of her shock.

Deirdra Shaw said her husband John, known as Jake, was due to return to his home in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on Friday after working over Christmas.

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

Offshore worker Mr Shaw, 51, was one of seven on board the aircraft.

The keen Rangers fan leaves a 30-year-old son and a 26-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and an 18-year-old son to a previous partner. He also had two step-daughters to Deirdra.

Mr Shaw and his wife were coming up to their third wedding anniversary this February, having met in 1999.

In a statement issued through Fife Constabulary, Mrs Shaw said: "Jake was due home on Friday having been working over Christmas, we are still in a state of shock and disbelief over this terrible accident.

Helicopter data

"Jake worked offshore for a long number of years and was used to the frequent helicopter flights.

"He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him."

It is believed Mr Shaw had been working offshore for about 16 years.

The bodies of six men have been recovered from the Morecambe Bay crash site.

Along with Mr Shaw, rig workers Robert Warburton, from Heysham, Leslie Ahmed, from South Shields, and Alfred Neasham, from Durham, were killed.

Pilots Stephen Potton, from Blackpool, and Simon Foddering, from Preston, also died, and contractor Keith Smith, from Stockton-on-Tees, is still missing.

The Eurocopter AS365N which crashed
The cause of the accident involving the Eurocopter is unknown

A data recorder from the 20-year-old helicopter has not yet been recovered.

Lancashire Police said the helicopter, a Eurocopter AS365N, had flown from Blackpool Airport to two gas rigs and was on its way to a third when it "veered to the left" and ditched into the sea.

It crashed 500 yards away from the third rig. No emergency call was received.

The helicopter was flying from the Millom West platform - owned by Burlington Resources Ltd but operated by Centrica - to the North Morecambe platform on its way to the South Morecambe platform, which is permanently occupied.

Three people on the third platform witnessed the incident, and one of them who was due to board the helicopter was described by police as "traumatised".

Police said the weather was normal for the time of year and that the witnesses said they saw nothing unusual with the helicopter.

A search operation is ongoing but police said the likelihood of Mr Smith surviving was "slim".

The Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) has launched an inquiry into the incident.


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