Inquiry into fatal air crash

An inquiry is underway into a helicopter crash in 2009 which killed 16 people.

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Witness: Rotor blades were separate from helicopter

The Fatal Accident Inquiry into a helicopter crash which killed 16 people got underway today.

An eyewitness, Lidvar Olav Hildre, had his statement read out at the hearing.

"The object was obviously a helicopter but I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"It fell silently towards the sea. I don't think there was any smoke or anything coming from the helicopter at that point.

Just before the helicopter hit the sea, or just as the helicopter hit the sea, I cannot be sure which, I saw one flame come from the helicopter. I couldn't say exactly where on the helicopter this came from.

There was then a big splash as the helicopter hit the sea in a bang, then there was white smoke.

After this I then saw, quite clearly, four large black rotor blades all attached together falling out of the sky towards the sea, separate from the helicopter.

The rotor probably hit the sea around the same place as the helicopter but I never saw it hit.

– Lidvar Olav Hildre

As the only eyewitness account was read out, family members in the public gallery sat silently, some wiping tears from their eyes.

Fourteen oil workers, including Norwich man Nolan Goble, 34, and two crew were killed when the aircraft hit the sea on April 1, 2009.

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