Family 'Heartbroken' After Norway Helicopter Crash

2 May 2016, 08:35 | Updated: 2 May 2016, 09:09

The family of a Scottish oil worker killed in a helicopter crash in Norway say they have been left "heartbroken'' by his death.

Iain Stuart from Aberdeenshire died along with 10 other passengers and two crew when the aircraft travelling from an oil field crashed off the Norwegian coast on Friday.

A statement released by relatives of the 41-year-old said: "We as a family are devastated at the loss of Iain in Friday's tragic helicopter crash in Norway.

"Iain was a loving husband and devoted father to his two children and as a family we are heartbroken. He was a caring son, brother, uncle and friend to many.

"We are appreciative of all the messages of support and kind thoughts.

"We now ask, as a family, that we are allowed some privacy at this difficult and sad time to grieve and come to terms with our loss.''

An investigation is under way into the crash which saw the Super Puma smash into the rocky shoreline of Turoey, a tiny island outside Bergen.

Norwegian television showed footage of what appeared to be a helicopter rotor blade spiralling down minutes before the crash en route to Bergen Airport in Flesland.

Mr Stuart, from the town of Laurencekirk, worked for Houston-based oilfield services company Halliburton which lost three other employees on board the craft.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon offered her condolences to his family and the loved ones of all those who died.

She said: "An incident such as this is felt deeply throughout the oil and gas sector especially those who work round the clock in the North Sea.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Iain Stuart, and of the other 12 people who were killed in this tragic accident.

"We will remain in contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who are liaising with Police Scotland to offer help and support to the family at this sad time.''

The 10 other passengers were Norwegian and employed by companies including Schlumberger, Aker Solutions, and Statoil.

Helicopter operators CHC lost two pilots, a Norwegian and an Italian.

It has emerged that the Airbus EC225LP had to return to base twice in the days before the tragedy after a warning light was triggered.

CHC said the aircraft completed six commercial flights with no indications of problems on Thursday, the day before the accident.

The company said in a statement: ''(On Tuesday) the pilot had a warning light and returned to Flesland according to procedure.

''At Flesland the helicopter was inspected, according to procedure, and a part was replaced.

''On Wednesday the helicopter was taken on a test flight, where the warning light reappeared, the helicopter returned to base, changed another component, and the next test drive was completed without any warning light.

''On Thursday, the aircraft completed six commercial flights, all without any indication of problems. None of the changed parts were physically connected to rotor or gearbox.''

The operators added: ''At all times, CHC has met or exceeded the requirements of our regulatory authorities and our customers, and continues to offer a compliant service.

''Speculation about the cause of the accident is unhelpful and we must also be careful to respect the feelings of the families who perished in the tragic events of Bergen.''

All UK commercial passenger flights using the EC225LP were grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) following the accident and a team from the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is assisting with the crash investigation.

The tragedy sparked calls for the aircraft type to be permanently removed from service, with an online petition so far collecting more than 7,700 signatures.

Supporters include Audrey Wood, who lost her son Stuart when a helicopter carrying workers from a BP oil platform crashed off Peterhead in Aberdeenshire in April 2009.