A helicopter carrying Statoil workers and passengers from the oil rig to land crashed last Friday killing all13 people according to rescuers. The Airbus EC-225 crashed in the North Sea slamming against the rocky shoreline of a Norwegian island located outside Bergen.
Rescue for survivors ended on Friday at 5 pm, right after 11 bodies were found on land. The search for the other two bodies continues, however. Boerge Galta of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center has said, “We do not believe anyone can be found alive." The other two missing people are presumed to be dead.
According to reports, the helicopter was carrying 11 passengers and two crew members; all of them Norwegian, except for a British and an Italian citizen. Commercial flights of the same type of helicopter were suspended in Norway and Britain.
Prime Minister Erna Soldberg said in a news conference, "This is a sad day for all those who work in the Norwegian oil and gas industry and for Norwegian society."
Witnesses told Norwegian authorities what they saw during the crash. They claim to have seen the rotor blades separate from the body of the helicopter in mid-air. John Atle Sekkingstad told the website of the local paper Bergens Tidende, "While I looked up, the rotor (blades) loosened and disappeared towards the north. After that, the helicopter turned north and I saw fire at the top of the helicopter where the rotor had been attached. It caught fire before it crashed."
Arne Sigve Nylund, Statoil's head of production in Norway has stated that “"This is one of the worst accidents in Norwegian oil history.” He also added that "All 13 were on a mission for us."
Norway’s King Harald and his wife Queen Sonja canceled their trip to Sweden due to the terrible accident.
The cause of the accident has not been determined yet but this might take some time to come to light.