All 19 people returned safely to land in North Sea rescue

All 19 people on board a helicopter that ditched in the North Sea have safely returned to land, the coastguard has said.

The CHC helicopter was carrying an oil crew from Aberdeen to a rig 86 miles northwest of Shetland when it ditched at around 3:30pm today.

Three RNLI lifeboats were launched from Kirkwall in Orkney and Aith and Lerwick in Shetland to go to their aid.

However when they arrived at the scene, the 17 passengers and two crew members had already been taken from their life raft by a fast rescue craft launched from the the Nord Nightingale vessel, which was close to where the incident took place.

They were taken back to the tanker and flown by RAF and Bond rescue helicopters to Kirkwall in Orkney.

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Helicopter halt after rescue

The operator of a helicopter that was safely ditched in the sea with 19 people on board is temporarily suspending flights with the model. The CHC-operated helicopter was carrying an oil crew from Aberdeen to a rig 86 miles north-west of Shetland.