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Helicopter With at Least 13 on Board Crashes Off Norway Coast

© REUTERS / NTB Scanpix/Bergens TidendeRescuers work at a site where a helicopter has crashed, west of the Norwegian city of Bergen April 29, 2016.
Rescuers work at a site where a helicopter has crashed, west of the Norwegian city of Bergen April 29, 2016. - Sputnik International
A transport helicopter with 13 people on board fell into the North Sea off the western coast of Norway near the city of Bergen. The helicopter belongs to Statoil oil company operating on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Police confirmed all 13 people aboard the helicopter are presumed dead. Bodies of 11 have been found. Out of 13 people that were on board, 11 were Norwegians, 1 Briton and 1 Italian

Eleven people among the missing are Statoil employees. Rescue boats and helicopters have been sent to the crash site, according to the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Center.

Norwegian police said that they "have not found any survivors yet, but still looking" after the crash.

"We do not know exactly how events unfolded and why the helicopter crashed," the official of the center, Bjørn Jarle Åmlid, told local TV-2 channel.

According to a representative of the local police, there were at least 13 people aboard the helicopter that crashed off the island of Turoy.

"I now have updated figures from the Civil Aviation Administration that there was 11 plus 2 people on board," operations manager in Hordaland Police told the Dagbladet newspaper.

Witnesses said that they heard an explosion and saw smoke at the crash site. Debris of the helicopter are seen in the water.

Rescue coordination center confirmed to Aftenbladet that the helicopter that crashed came from Gullfaks oil field and was going into the Flesland and there were 11 passengers on board. Statoil company operates the Gullfaks field. According to Aftenbladet, the helicopter was on its way to the Brage offshore oil field in the North Sea.

Spokesperson for the rescue coordination center for southern Norway, John Sjursø, said the helicopter is "totally destroyed."

"It lies partly on land and partly in the sea. Now it is done a thorough job on the spot." "There is a huge, and I mean really big, the number of rescuers at the site."

According to the center, the rotor and some other parts of the helicopter have been found on the islet. Parts of the helicopter's hull can be seen 5-7 meters under water, about 20 meters away from shore.

The helicopter involved is probably an Eurocopter EC225 from CHC Helikopter service.

Media reports said the helicopter crash occurred around 12:20 local time. According to FlightRadar24, the helicopter fell from the altitude of 640 meters before crashing on a small islet.

Statoil grounded all Eurocopter 225 helicopters in 2012 after these helicopters had had a few emergency landings in Scotland and Shetland (archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of the island of Great Britain). However, in 2013 they set the affected helicopters into traffic again.

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