FIFTEEN people have now been accounted for after a Super Puma L2 helicopter with 18 passengers on board ditched into the sea two miles off Fitful Head, in Shetland.
The search for the missing three men was ongoing on Friday night.
A major incident has been declared and Sumburgh airport was closed to allow emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident.
Shetland Coastguard was alerted shortly before 6.30pm on Friday and immediately launched the two rescue helicopters based at Sumburgh, and also tasked Shetland’s two lifeboats.
The NorthLink ferry Hjaltland, on her way to Aberdeen, was diverted to assist in the search for survivors.
Nine casualties were initially taken to the Clickimin landing site, in Lerwick, from were they were transferred to the Gilbert Bain Hospital.
A spokesman for CHC Helicopter confirmed one of the company’s helicopters had been involved in the emergency.
“Exact details of the incident, which happened at approximately 6.20pm are not yet known.”
CHC Helicopter has set up a helpline for concerned relatives. The number is: 01224 296 866
A spokesman for Sumburgh airport said the Super Puma helicopter was making an approach to the airport and lost radar contact with air traffic control at 18.15pm.
The helicopter was on its way from the Borgsten Dolphin semi-submersible drilling rig to Sumburgh airport.
The wreck of the helicopter is reported to be close to the cliffs and difficult to access for rescuers.
The search and rescue operation is being hampered by poor visibility.
Meanwhile, a specialist mediacal team from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has been flown to Shetland by the RAF’s Sea King Rescue 137 helicopter from Lossiemouth arriving at the Clickimin landing site at 9.40pm.
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