Norway Helicopter Crash Kills 13 People near Bergen
Thirteen people have been killed in a helicopter crash near the Norwegian city of Bergen, rescuers say.
Eleven of those on board were Norwegians, one was Italian and one Briton. No survivors have been found.
A major rescue operation was launched but ended within hours of the crash.
Meanwhile, Norway’s civil aviation authority has imposed a flight ban on the type of helicopter that crashed – the Eurocopter (EC) 225L Super Puma. Reports say it was “totally destroyed”.
Civil aviation officials told Norwegian newspaper VG that servicing for the helicopter which crashed had been delayed twice in 2015, for a total of 200 flying hours.
The aircraft was flying from the Gullfaks oil field to Bergen, a centre for the North Sea oil and gas industry.
Eleven bodies have been found, and two other people are still missing.
Norwegian PM Erna Solberg said news of the crash was “horrible”.
King Harald and Queen Sonja cancelled a trip to Sweden, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported.
Oil company Statoil said the helicopter was “on assignment”. All the passengers were Statoil employees.
Both Statoil and the UK energy company BP have suspended use of the Super Puma.
Statoil has also suspended oil production at the Gullfaks B platform “so that we can take care of the staff in the best way possible”, company vice-president Arne Sigve Nylund told journalists.
The aircraft came down near the small island of Turoy, just west of the village of Solsvik.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing the helicopter’s rotor blade come loose and shear off.
Photos from the scene showed thick smoke coming from an area of rocky islets.
Local media said the helicopter dropped 2,200ft in the last 10 seconds before it crashed. Some wreckage was found on the rocks, and parts of the fuselage are in the sea.