Thursday, March 12, 2009

helicopter down in north atlantic

Anyone who has ever worked offshore can commiserate with possibility of a helicopter ditching over water. Although oilfield workers train for these eventualities its difficult to imagine an underwater escape from a helicopter in one of the most inhospitable oceans anywhere.

So far the coast guard have found one survivor. Really really really hope they find the other 17.

Update

As of today there are still 16 missing, 1 survivor in intensive care, and 1 confirmed dead. The helicopter was a Sikorsky S-92, a very modern heliocopter. The search has located 2 life rafts which were both empty. Its looking very bad now for anyone still in the water - their survival suits are only good for about 24 hours under good conditions: 3 m seas and 30 knot winds are hardly ideal.

The survival suits are equipped with emergency transponders which activate upon contact with water. So far of the sixteen possible transponders not one has been activated. This would suggest to me that all of the missing passengers never made it out of the chopper.

Hope I'm wrong.

I find this very disturbing, terrifying even.

5 comments:

aroengbinang said...

It's certainly one of the most terrible ways to leave this wonderful-of-terrible world. I watched "The Passenger" movie the other day, and it made sick for quite a while thinking of being one of the passengers in an ill-fated plane, with fire on its engine, going down rapidly to the ground, with no chance of survival….

pj said...

aroengbinang
Thanks for dropping in. Yup it certainly is a bad way to go. The scary bit for me was that these choppers were new and well maintained. The only choppers that I seem to fly on are old and shake alarmingly on takeoff and landing.

schmerly said...

pj looks like another chopper has gone down in the North Sea on Wednesday?

pj said...

Yup a superpuma flying back to land. Looks like another catastropic descent as there are still 8 bodies in the fuselage.

Thats 3 accidents this year alone. And still 9 months to go. I may have to go back to work on land.

schmerly said...

Yeah it can a bit scary in our line of work pj, I've been bombed and had missiles flying around on jobs, and thrown in jail! just trying to earn a crust, but thank goodness I haven't had to work offshore for about four years now, and the last lot used boats, I like boats no problem lah!