A BRIT oil worker is feared to be among 11 dead after a helicopter crashed near the western Norwegian city of Bergen today, agencies report. Thirteen people are thought to have been on board when the helicopter crashed earlier today, with two still unaccounted for. It is thought one British national, an Italian and 11 Norwegians were on board – it has not been confirmed which nationalities are among the fatalities.
Reports of crash-victims in the sea came as witnesses described “an explosion and thick smoke”. The crash took place on the island of Turoey, near Bergen, and is this third crash in the North Sea in recent years. Helicopters also crashed in 2009 and 2011 in the area. Kronen said it was not clear how people ended up in the water but Norwegian media posted photos of huge billows of smoke.
It later emerged the helicopter was a Eurocopter EC-225. Eyewitness Rebecca Andersen told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang that the helicopter’s “rotor blades came rushing toward us. “Then we heard a violent explosion.” The Stavanger Aftenblad daily said the helicopter was on its way to an offshore oil field in the North Sea, some 120 kilometers (74 miles) northwest of Bergen.
Norwegian police wrote on Twitter: “Emergency services en route to a zone near Turoy after reports of a helicopter crash.” First reports indicated the helicopter was transporting workers to an offshore oil field in the North Sea.
Live footage showed leisure boats rushing toward the scene, where thick black smoke was billowing into the sky.