Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Sunday, 22 February 2009

Helicopter wreck pulled from sea

Wreckage of ditched Super Puma arrives in Aberdeen

The wreckage of a helicopter that ditched in the North Sea on its way to an oil platform has been salvaged.

Eighteen people were saved in what has been described as a "text-book rescue" when the Eurocopter Super Puma crashed about 125 miles east of Aberdeen.

Two life rafts used in Wednesday's evacuation have also been recovered and taken ashore in Aberdeen.

The fuselage and life rafts were moved by oil support vessels. The wreckage arrived in Aberdeen late on Saturday.

Rescuers said the helicopter's tail boom was missing.

The fuselage will be taken to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) facility in Farnborough, Hampshire.

An AAIB spokeswoman said: "The vessel carrying the fuselage has now docked in Aberdeen, and will now be transported to Farnborough for investigations to begin."

The Super Puma, operated by Bond Offshore, overturned in the water on Thursday.

Workers on the BP oil platform which should have been the flight's destination saw the aircraft ditch.

Rescuers said the helicopter's tail boom was missing.

The wreckage of the helicopter arrives in Aberdeen
The helicopter's wreckage was brought into the harbour late on Saturday

A spokesman for Bond Offshore said: "The successful recovery of the fuselage is excellent news and it will greatly assist the AAIB in identifying the cause of the incident."

One of the passengers on the helicopter told BBC Scotland he felt an impact moments before it hit the water.

Finlay McGregor, from Tain, in Ross-shire, said: "It was if something had fallen off, or we'd hit something. It felt like being rear ended by a truck."

Mr McGregor, 56, said the impact was felt as the helicopter made its final approach to a platform in the Etap field.

He also thanked the crew of the vessel Caledonian Victory which picked up 15 of the men and took them to Aberdeen.

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