Statoil Grounds Helicopters After Crash

At least 11 people aboard died in the April 29 crash of a helicopter coming from the Gullfaks B field in the Norwegian North Sea.

A helicopter on assignment for the energy company Statoil crashed while en route April 29 from the Gullfaks B field in the Norwegian North Sea to Bergen, a city on Norway's western coast that is a center for the region's offshore energy industry, and at least 11 of those aboard died in the crash, according to reports posted by Stavanger-based Statoil and news agencies.

The BBC's updated news story about the crash says rescuers have confirmed all 13 people aboard the aircraft are presumed dead following the crash, and both Statoil and BP have grounded the type of helicopter that was involved.

Statoil's report said it was notified shortly after midnight April 28 that a helicopter had crashed outside Turøy in Fjell, a municipality outside Bergen. "The helicopter was en route from Gullfaks B to Bergen. There were 13 people on board the helicopter, which was a CHC helicopter on assignment for Statoil. Statoil has temporarily grounded all equivalent traffic helicopters," the statement said. "The rescue operation is led and coordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, and Statoil is providing additional resources."

It said Statoil has mobilized its entire emergency response organization and set up a center for the victims' relatives at Scandic Bergen Airport Hotel.

"Today, we have been hit by a terrible tragedy, one of the most severe helicopter accidents in the history of the Norwegian oil industry. It is with great sorrow we have received the message that 13 people have been involved in this accident. More than anything, our thoughts are now with those who have lost their loved ones, and an entire industry extends its sympathy to them," said Arne Sigve Nylund, Statoil's executive vice president Development & Production Norway. "We will now do everything we can to give them our support and assistance. The deceased were employed in different companies, but they were all on a mission for Statoil."

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