NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Super Puma crash survivor calls for answers

James Nugent
Image caption James Nugent said he does not think he could get into a helicopter again

One of the survivors of the fatal offshore helicopter crash off Shetland in August has demanded answers on what went wrong.

James Nugent spoke out as a memorial service was held in Aberdeen to remember those killed in the UK oil and gas industry.

The victims of the Shetland Super Puma crash were among those remembered.

Four people died when the helicopter went down on approach to Sumburgh Airport on 23 August.

Mr Nugent said: "I just want answers over what has happened and for someone to take responsibility for the fact that 16 passengers and two pilots were in a horrific aviation accident that should never have happened.

"There is obviously a need to fully understand what happened in this awful incident."

Mr Nugent told the BBC about the moments leading up to the crash.

"We got a call to land in 10 minutes and just after 10 minutes I was wondering why we hadn't landed, or why there wasn't any indication that we were landing, he said.

"Then all of a sudden there was this mighty bang above our heads and the twisting of the fuselage alerted us to something terribly wrong.

"Four seconds later, we were crashing into the sea. We entered the water and the next thing I knew we were filling up with water."

Mr Nugent, who managed to get onto a life-raft, said it was a scene of carnage.

Image caption The names of seven people who died offshore, including the four who lost their lives in the Shetland crash, were read out at the service

He said: "We tried to get the guys that had floated away onto the second life-raft, but there was too much current going in the opposite direction, it pulled us away from the guys that needed the rescue."

The 41-year-old said people should be aware of the dangers that come with working offshore.

"It is a dangerous place to work. It's a dangerous job that is getting carried out in the North Sea.

"It should not be dangerous to travel to and from work.

"I've always had a fear of choppers and that's confirmed now, I don't think I could get into a chopper again."

The Service of Remembrance was held in the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen.

'Different format'

It included a Book of Remembrance to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.

The Reverend Gordon Craig, chaplain to the UK oil and gas industry, said: "The service will now follow a slightly different format to that of previous years, with the Book of Remembrance playing a key role.

"The names of everyone who lost their lives offshore during the preceding year, whether through tragic accident or natural causes, will be read out during the service as an act of remembrance.

"This year, the first names to be included in the Book of Remembrance will be the seven who have died offshore in the past 12 months, including those who perished in the tragic helicopter accident off Sumburgh Head."

Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester, lost their lives in the Shetland crash.

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