'Worker in fatal helicopter fall'

Airlift: Troll A platform

A sick worker plunged to his death in the North Sea while being airlifted by helicopter to hospital from Statoil’s Troll A platform, according to a report.

The patient, aged in his 30s, was being transported to Bergen after being picked up at the facility by the CHC Helikopter Service aircraft at around 8am on Wednesday in an ambulance operation, Norwegian TV channel TV2 reported.

However, the man was reportedly able to come out of the helicopter at an altitude of about 600 metres and fell into the sea, only a few kilometres from land, at about 8:45am.

A search-and-rescue operation was launched and the victim was located about an hour later but was pronounced dead.

A CHC spokesman was quoted as saying the incident “came as a shock”, adding: “This is the kind of tragedy we have never experienced before.”

The patient was accompanied by a medical attendant on the routine flight, with two pilots, a rescue worker and lift operator also said to have been onboard.

“We have decided to follow up with the involved parties and the installation has been informed about the incident,” a Statoil spokesman was quoted as saying, adding the state-owned operator was now carrying out internal work to examine the incident.

The spokesman confirmed in an email to Upstream that the worker, who was employed with a supplier, was found dead in the sea off Sotra after exiting the search-and-rescue helicopter, which was en route to the west coast city’s Flesland airport.

He said the company could not release more details of the incident due to personal privacy restrictions.

The incident is now under investigation by Statoil, the supplier and helicopter operator, he added.

A police officer quoted by TV2 said police had interviewed some of those on board the helicopter but that “some more work needs to be done to clarify the course of events” for the incident.

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