- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND (AP) - A helicopter returning from an oil platform went down in the North Sea on Wednesday with 16 people on board, the U.K.’s coast guard agency said.

There was no immediate word on survivors after the helicopter ditched off the northeast coast of Scotland.

Britain’s Press Association, quoting unspecified sources, said 10 people were feared dead, but that could not immediately be confirmed independently.

A spokesman for BP said the helicopter was working for the oil company and was returning to Britain from an offshore oil field.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency says two Royal Air Force helicopters and a Nimrod airplane were heading for the area, along with ships in the vicinity.

Local hospitals in nearby Aberdeen, about 535 miles (860 kilometers) north of London, put their major incident plan into place in order to deal with the accident.

The crash Wednesday was the second such incident this year. Both incidents involved the same model of helicopter, the Super Puma.

In the February crash, everyone was rescued.

Helicopters have been used to ferry workers to and from the oil and gas fields off the Scottish coast since the construction of platforms there in the 1970s.

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