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Four helicopter crash victims named
Four people have died after a helicopter transporting oil workers onshore went down in the North Sea.
An operation is under way to recover the body of one of the passengers after a Super Puma plunged into the water off Shetland last night.
Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham; George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Scotland; and 59-year-old Gary McCrossan, from Inverness, also Scotland, died when the AS332 L2 aircraft went down around two miles west of Sumburgh airport at 6.20pm.
The helicopter was carrying 16 workers and two crew members from the Borgsten Dolphin platform when it is believed to have experienced a "catastrophic" loss of power.
Fourteen people were taken to safety during a major rescue response involving the coastguard, police, RAF and RNLI. They were taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, Shetland. Five were discharged and nine were detained overnight for observation or because they were suffering from exposure.
Helicopter operator CHC said the aircraft lost communication as it approached the airport on the southern tip of Shetland's main island. The company said flights in Aberdeen were suspended for the day as a mark of respect and it has temporarily suspended operations of all AS332 L2 aircraft.
Oil company Total said the four people killed were from contractor organisations.
The bodies of three people have been recovered and work is under way to recover the body of the fourth person.
Jim Nicholson, RNLI rescue co-ordinator, said he understood two of the bodies were recovered in the area where the helicopter crashed. "The bodies came to the surface close to the helicopter wreckage,'' he said. ''The helicopter was in a pretty inaccessible place but the lifeboat crew were able to get to them using an inflatable craft."
He went on: ''There appears to have been a catastrophic loss of power which meant the helicopter suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing.''