Page last updated at 19:22 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 20:22 UK

All bodies recovered after crash

Richard Menzies and Paul Burnham
The bodies of Mr Menzies (left) and Mr Burnham were among those found

All 16 bodies and the black box flight recorder have been recovered from a helicopter that crashed in the North Sea, killing everyone on board.

The wreckage of the Super Puma was located on the sea bed by the Bibby Topaz salvage vessel.

The helicopter crashed off the Aberdeenshire coast on Wednesday.

By Monday morning, all bodies are expected to have been brought ashore. Grampian Police said that families of victims had been kept informed.

Provide clues

On Sunday evening, investigators said they found the last remaining body.

Earlier, Grampian Police said they believed two of the recovered bodies were the pilot and co-pilot, Paul Burnham, 31, from Methlick in Aberdeenshire, and Richard Menzies, 24, of Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire.

When any tragedy strikes, it is felt by all those who work offshore and onshore
Rev Andrew Jolly

The force also said it would be setting up an incident support centre at Aberdeen's Hilton Treetops Hotel on Monday to provide assistance to those affected by the tragedy.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the cockpit voice and flight data recorder had been found and taken to its headquarters in Farnborough.

It was hoped the recorder - often referred to as the aircraft's black box - would provide clues to what caused the crash.

The AAIB said some helicopter wreckage had already been taken on board the Bibby Topaz, and efforts were ongoing to lift the remainder from the sea bed.

The helicopter was said to have been lying about 100m under the surface. It had been returning from BP's Miller oil platform when it crashed some 15 miles off Peterhead at 1400 BST on Wednesday.

It was operated by British firm Bond Offshore Helicopters. BP has said it had discontinued use of the helicopters for an unspecified period.

Diving teams had been working at the scene of the crash since Saturday afternoon trying to locate the wreckage and the cockpit voice and data recorder.

Prayers for the dead men were said at a special service at the St Nicholas Kirk in Aberdeen on Sunday morning.

'Learn lessons'

Rev Andrew Jolly, chaplain to the UK oil and gas industry, told the service: "We cannot begin to imagine the pain and sorrow their loved ones feel at their loss.

"The offshore world is a big industry but a small family. When any tragedy strikes, it is felt by all those who work offshore and onshore.

"This great city of Aberdeen has taken this industry to its heart and has stood in silence and shared its sorrow and pain over the years."

Rev Jolly also paid tribute to David Stephenson, who lost his life in a separate accident on the Well Servicer diving support vessel in the North Sea, also on Wednesday.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "The recovery of more bodies is sad, but hopefully it can provide some little comfort and solace for grieving families.

"We know that it's vital that the helicopter is found to try and find out what caused the crash and to learn lessons and seek to avoid further tragedies.

"I know the emergency services have been working extremely hard and doing their absolute best to make sure all the bodies are recovered and identified as quickly as possible."

Bibby Topaz
The Bibby Topaz is above the wreckage of the Super Puma

Grampian Police said on Saturday night they had identified all eight of the bodies which had been recovered by that stage.

The bodies of Brian Barkley, 30, of Aberdeen; James Edwards, 33, of Liverpool; Vernon Elrick, 41, of Aberdeen; and Mihails Zuravskis, 39, from Latvia, were identified on Saturday. All four men were employed by KCA Deutag.

Raymond Doyle, 57, from Cumbernauld; Nairn Ferrier, 40, from Dundee; Warren Mitchell, 38, of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire; and Stuart Wood, 27, from Aberdeen, had been formally identified the previous day.

Mr Doyle and Mr Ferrier also worked for KCA Deutag. Mr Wood was employed by Expro North Sea, while Mr Mitchell was employed by Weatherford UK.

Among the other men who died were four further KCA Deutag employees - Nolan Carl Goble, 34, of Norwich; Gareth Hughes, 53, of Angus; David Rae, 63, of Dumfries and Leslie Taylor, 41, of Kintore, Aberdeenshire.

James Costello, 24, from Aberdeen, who worked for contractor PSN, and Alex Dallas, 62, also from Aberdeen, who was employed by Sparrow Offshores Services, also died.



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