UK & World News
Helicopter Pilots Praised For 'Skilful' Ditch
The pilots of a helicopter that successfully ditched into the North Sea off Aberdeen on Thursday with all 14 on board being rescued safely have been praised for their skill.
"The North Sea is a particularly challenging place to fly any type of aircraft and flying helicopters is a particularly skillful task," Dave Reynolds, flight safety office of Balpa, the pilots' union, told BBC Radio Scotland.
"The gentlemen involved have done a splendid job here. They brought the aircraft down in very challenging conditions.
"The operation which they actually flew is not something that is regularly practised by pilots and to actually carry this off and to get the aircraft successfully on the water with no-one being injured and the aircraft being intact is a great credit to these people."
The company that operates the helicopters - Bond Aviation Group - has suspended all flights involving the EC225 Super Puma for safety reasons until further notice.
Mr Reynolds said Balpa would support initiatives to improve flight safety.
"In any air accident or air incident for those involved it is a very traumatic event. Air transport as we know is inherently safe so when we do have these isolated incidents of course it causes concern.
"We would support any initiative that would enhance flight safety and of course if we can reassure people and take steps to ensure that this sort of thing doesn't occur in the future then of course we fully support that."
The helicopter came down 25 miles off the coast of Aberdeen shortly after midday on Thursday. All those on board were rescued and taken safely back to land.