SURVIVORS of last year’s tragic helicopter crash just south of Sumburgh have paid tribute to the Shetland community following a dedication service marking the incident’s first anniversary.
Four people were killed when the Super Puma helicopter they were travelling in ditched in the sea around two miles south of Fitful Head on 23 August 2013.
Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester, all lost their lives.
The incident prompted widespread concerns about helicopter safety within the offshore oil industry.
Five survivors of the tragic accident were among over 100 people in attendance at the dedication service on Saturday afternoon, along with representatives of the local emergency services and Shetland Islands Council.
A short statement issued on behalf of the survivors read: “We are all here to pay our respects to those who lost their lives that night.
“We are grateful to have the chance to meet and thank the brave crew members who helped us.
“The whole Shetland community rallied around us in a time of need and we would like to express our deep gratitude to so many people – coastguard, RNLI, hospital staff, police, workers at Sumburgh Airport, Red Cross – for everything.”
The short service was held at the airport’s memorial site, which is dedicated to those who have lost their lives in aircraft accidents in Shetland over the past three decades. It was conducted by the Fishermen’s Mission’s superintendent Aubrey Jamieson.
A dedication plaque with the names of those who died was unveiled, while a wreath was placed in the sea at the accident site by the airport’s fire service staff from their fast rescue boat. Search and rescue helicopters carried out a fly past as the wreath was laid.
Jamieson told BBC Radio Shetland: “I think a year on is probably one of the hardest anniversaries that anybody in grief, or following a tragedy like this, will ever have to face, so I think it’s very important that it’s been marked in this way.”
— Malcolm Bell (@malcolm_bell) August 25, 2014
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 440 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News