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Three missing after Shetland crash
A rescue team continues to search for three people missing after a helicopter carrying 18 people from an oil rig ditched in the sea off Shetland.
The Super Puma L2 aircraft went down at 6.20pm around two miles west of Sumburgh airport as it was returning to Shetland from the Borgsten Dolphin platform in the North Sea. A search operation involving coastguard, police, RAF and RNLI was launched and 15 people were rescued from the water.
Jim Nicholson, RNLI rescue co-ordinator, said that the rescue team hope to move the helicopter into a more accessible position overnight where it can be searched for the missing three.
"As time passes there is less hope, but the search operation is continuing and everyone is working very hard," he said. "I believe the teams are trying to move the helicopter to a more accessible position away from the cliffs. One reason for this is there could be a person or persons inside the helicopter. The darkness makes it that much more difficult but weather conditions are not that bad."
He understands all personnel flying to or from the oil rig wear special insulation suits, which enable them to survive for longer in the water.
One of the men rescued, Sam Smith, described how the helicopter suddenly lost power and there was "no time to brace", it has been reported. His mother Amanda Smith told Sky News: "He said (the helicopter) seemed to lose power and there was no time to brace - they just dropped into the sea. He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over. He said he had come off better than a lot of people, were his words. It doesn't seem real."
She added that he is now recovering at a hospital in Lerwick and is "cut and shaken" but otherwise fine.
The coastguard said the helicopter's life rafts were found empty and some wreckage from the aircraft has started to wash up at the southern end of Sumburgh.
A spokeswoman said: ''There were 18 people on board and 15 have been recovered, there is still an ongoing search and rescue mission for the three missing people. 'The people that were involved are in varying stages of injury, no one has walked away from this without a scratch.''
First Minister Alex Salmond said he is in close contact with those behind the rescue effort. "Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all the crew and passengers who were on the helicopter and the teams involved in the rescue effort off Shetland," he said. Efforts to locate the remaining passengers are continuing. We remain closely in touch with all the agencies working on the rescue and the SGoRR (Scottish Government Resilience Room) is in operation."