11 dead, 2 missing in helicopter crash on Norway coast, aircraft ‘totally smashed’

11-dead-2-missing-in-helicopter-crash-on-Norway-coast-aircraft-totally-smashed.    BERGEN, Norway,  A helicopter carrying 13 people from a Statoil platform crashed off the coast of Norway, killing all on board.

11-dead-2-missing-in-helicopter-crash-on-Norway-coast-aircraft-totally-smashed
An Airbus helicopter H225 Super Puma, formerly known as a Eurocopter EC225, similar to the one pictured crashed off the coast of Norway after picking up passengers from a Statoil oil platform. File Photo courtesy Airbus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An emergency rescue operation officially ended Friday within hours of the crash after at least 11 bodies were found, according to The Wall Street Journal. A search is still ongoing for the remaining two people.

Police spokesman Morten Kronen reported the aircraft was “totally smashed” after the crash. The Eurocopter EC225 from the CHC Helikopter service was transporting a group of people from the Gulfaks B oil platform in the North Sea to Bergen, Norway before it went down, Statoil said.

The group on board included 11 Norwegians, one Italian and one U.K. citizen, according to authorities. All were employees of Statoil.

Local media reported people were spotted in the sea after the wreck, but no living survivors have been discovered.

Witnesses told the Journal the helicopter made creaking sounds before hitting the ground. “There was an explosion and a fire that lasted for a long time,” Vegard Turoy, a witness, told the outlet.

Other witnesses told the BBC they saw the helicopter’s rotor blade come loose and fly off.

The crashed helicopter reportedly delayed servicing twice in 2015, the BBC reported. The British Civilian Aviation Authority has officially suspended commercial use of the EC225, also known as the Super Puma.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has responded to the crash, calling it “horrible.” King Harald and Queen Sonja have also canceled a visit to Sweden after hearing news of the crash, according to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Statoil deployed its emergency response team and temporarily grounded its other helicopters after the crash.

The company announced it has suspended oil production at the Gulfaks B platform in order to “take care of the staff in the best way possible,” according to Arne Sigve Nylund, vice president of Statoil.

By Marilyn Malara

UPI NEWS