Helicopter firm 'dismissed fears'

Oil workers who expressed concerns about their helicopters were reportedly told to put on "big boy pants" in the weeks before the crash off Shetland that killed four people.

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Helicopter firm told workers to 'put on big boy pants'

Oil workers who expressed concerns about their helicopters were reportedly told to put on "big boy pants" in the weeks before the crash off Shetland that killed four people.

According to a Press and Journal report referenced by the Telegraph, one rig employee asked officials from the oil firm Total and the helicopter operator CHC what would happen if workers were to refuse to board an aircraft.

"How else are we going to get there?" a CHC representative replied.

"At some point we have to put our big boy pants on and say either 'we believe', either what I am telling you is the truth and I'm willing to sit in the front and risk my family and everything that I have got."

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Search for helicopter black box recorder ongoing

Investigators at the site of a helicopter crash in the North Sea are continuing to search for the Super Puma's black box data recorder, it is understood.

Salvagers are using specialist sonar equipment to try to trace the signal of the device, which was located in the helicopter's tail section.

Once recovered, the recorder will be transported to the headquarters of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch at Farnborough, Hampshire, for examination.

Tributes as helicopter victims returned to mainland

The bodies of three victims who were killed when a helicopter plunged into the North Sea last week were returned to mainland UK today.

It comes as the helicopter operator promised a "painstaking" investigation into what caused the incident.

The family of Gary McCrossan, one of the oil workers killed, paid a warm tribute to him today as a "loving guy who was full of life".

ITV News reporter Ben Chapman reports:

Helicopter operator promises 'painstaking' crash probe

A helicopter crash that killed four people will be "painstakingly investigated" to find out what went wrong, a senior executive of the aircraft operator has promised.

Duncan Trapp, vice president for safety and quality at CHC Helicopter, said the company will work with authorities and give its full co-operation following the Super Puma crash in the North Sea on Friday night.

The dive vessel involved in the salvage of the Super Puma helicopter off Shetland. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

He also revealed the two pilots are recovering from their injuries and pledged to do "everything humanly possible" to ensure workers can travel safely.

"Together, the regulators, authorities, aircraft manufacturer, CHC and other experts will painstakingly investigate the incident to determine - and learn the lessons of - what went wrong," Trapp said.

Offshore operators hold moment's silence for victims

Members of Oil & Gas UK - the body representing the offshore oil and gas industry - held a "period of silent reflection" today to remember the four victims of a helicopter incident in the North Sea last week.

The group's chief executive Malcolm Webb said the grounding of the Super Puma helicopter fleet would cause "considerable inconvenience to the workforce and their families".

He said it could result in delays and flight backlogs as well as "potential adverse effects on offshore activities".

Read: Helicopter operator Bond grounds Super Puma fleet

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Shetland victim 'sadly missed' by work colleagues

The company where Shetland helicopter crash victim Gary McCrossan worked has paid tribute to the oil worker.

Heather Milne of Stork Technical Services said: "We are extremely sad to lose Gary, and our thoughts and support continue to be with the family at this very difficult time.

Gary McCrossan, who was 59 and from Inverness, died in the North Sea crash. Credit: Family handout

"Gary was a valued colleague whose services Stork engaged on many projects over the past 10 years. Gary will be sadly missed by all in the industry and at Stork, who knew and worked with him."

Shetland crash victim was 'a fun, loving guy'

The family of one of four oil workers killed in a helicopter crash off Shetland have paid tribute a "fun, loving guy".

In a statement released by police, relatives of Gary McCrossan said: "A deep void has been left in our lives. Gary was a loving fiance - long-time partner to Fiona, devoted father to Niki and Freya, grandpa to Cohen, loving brother to Maureen, Frank and Kenny and best friend and confidant to many.

Gary McCrossan, who was 59 and from Inverness, died in the North Sea crash. Credit: Family handout

The statement continued: "He was a fun, loving guy who was full of life, a great story-teller - who always kept you guessing.

"Gary left a piece of himself in everyone he encountered and will be greatly missed. We walk each day in his honour."

Offshore operators meet after Shetland crash

An emergency meeting of key offshore operators is being held today to discuss contingency plans following a fatal helicopter crash in the North Sea. Super Puma flights to and from UK offshore installations were suspended in the wake of Friday's crash in which four people were killed.

The helicopters account for about half of the available seats used to transfer platform workers to and from the UK offshore installations.

The meeting is expected to look into the use of alternative helicopters, alternative available flights, and the possibility of transferring workers by boat.

Hundreds of workers are flown to and from oil platforms every day and there are concerns that the grounding of the Super Puma will cause a backlog of workers waiting to go on and offshore.

'Skill' of helicopter pilots 'helped save lives' in crash

Experts believe more people could have died, after a helicopter ditched into the North Sea killing four people, but added that the "skill of the pilots" played a part in saving lives, according to the British Airline Pilots Association.

Helicopter's yellow floatation device is visable as RNLI volunteers in the Y-boat from the Aith lifeboat inspect the wreckage. Credit: RNLI

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, a spokesman said: "It is too early to say exactly what happened, but ditching a helicopter on water is extremely difficult.

"The skill of the pilots in dealing with what looks to have been a catastrophic power failure at low altitude almost certainly ensured that more people didn't lose their lives."

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