The incident prompted a sea and air rescue.

Helicopter ditches in North sea

All the passengers and crew from a helicopter that ditched in the North Sea have arrived safely back on land after a dramatic rescue.

Two-mile exclusion zone has been set up around the offshore platform which has been evacuated after a gas leak

North Sea gas leak spreading

A leak at the Elgin platform, has left a cloud of gas stretching for miles across the North Sea

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RAF downgrades rescue to four in North Sea ferry blaze

An RAF spokesman has said that a call for rescue for a ferry blaze on the North Sea came in at around 10.40pm for RAF assistance, adding that they thought that 23 people would need to be winched to safety after they had breathed in smoke.

But that figure was downgraded to four people, and they were thought to have been lifted off the vessel well within an hour by a crew from RAF Leconfield near Hull.

A second helicopter from RAF Boulmer, Northumberland, was due to arrive around 11.30pm and was expected to stay close to the vessel on stand-by. He said the operation was being co-ordinated by the Humber Coastguard.

Four rescued after ferry blaze on the North Sea

Four people were winched to safety after suffering from smoke inhalation when a fire broke out on a North Sea ferry tonight, an RAF spokesman said.

Two RAF helicopters were scrambled to help injured passengers on the service around 30 miles east of Flamborough Head, near Scarborough.

Squadron Leader Dave Webster said: "The fire seems to have become quite well under control."

Piper Alpha disaster remembered at Scotland ceremony

The 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, which claimed the lives of 167 people, has been remembered at a ceremony in Scotland.

The North Sea platform was engulfed in a ball of flames after a gas leak ignited on July 6, 1988.

A memorial dedicated to the 167 people who lost their live in the disaster Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of people today attended a commemoration service in Aberdeen in memory of those who died.

They were joined by politicians, senior figures from the UK oil and gas industry and representatives from the Pound for Piper Trust.

Flowers and tributes were left by people who attended the service in Aberdeen. Credit: ITV News

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'Lessons have been learned' over Piper Alpha disaster

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Lessons are being learned to make sure an offshore disaster never happens again, the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.

Mr Moore said: "It is important that we never forget those who have lost their lives in our oil and gas industry. 25 years on from Piper Alpha, the loss of 167 lives is something that families and communities across the whole country are still coming to terms with".

Improvements 'are lasting memorial' to Piper Alpha

Safety improvements in the offshore industry are a "lasting memorial" to the 167 people killed in the Piper Alpha disaster, the Prime Minister has said.

In a letter to Malcolm Webb, chief executive of industry group Oil & Gas UK, David Cameron said:

In this testing environment the highest safety standards are paramount. I know how tirelessly the industry works to prevent incidents like Piper Alpha from ever happening again.

Over the last 25 years the North Sea has embraced continuous improvement in health and safety - an appropriate lasting memorial to those who suffered so terribly a quarter of a century ago.

We will never forget the 167 who lost their lives on 6th July 1988. And my thoughts as Aberdeen remembers its loss are with their families and loved ones, the survivors and all those involved on that tragic night.

Piper Alpha survivor hopes 'safety is getting better'

The names of all 167 people who died in the disaster will be read by representatives from the oil and gas industry and floral wreaths will be laid at the memorial.

On the 20th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster at the Hazlehead Park memorial statue in Aberdeen. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Roy Carey, 70, from Ayrshire, was one of 62 survivors and will be attending the service. "It gives me a chance to reflect on it. I do feel it's the only place where I feel a little closer to the lads that never made it," he said.

"A rig can now only burn the fuel that is on board which was not the case on the Piper Alpha. This should prevent a disaster to that extent happening again, but because that is happening in the North Sea doesn't mean it is happening worldwide but it really should be,"

"Safety, with science, should get better not worse and I'm hoping that improvements will be ongoing all the time".

Piper Alpha disaster to be remembered 25 years on

The wreckage of the Piper Alpha oil production platform in the North Sea, off Aberdeen. Credit: PA

The 25th anniversary of the world's worst offshore disaster, in which 167 men were killed, is being remembered today.

The North Sea tragedy happened on July 6 1988, when explosions and a fireball ripped through the Piper Alpha oil rig.

The service, due to take place at 11am at the North Sea Memorial in Aberdeen's Hazelhead Garden, will begin after the flypast of an RAF Sea King helicopter from Lossiemouth. This was the first aircraft to arrive at the scene of the disaster 25 years ago.

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