A rescue operation was launched after a helicopter carrying 19 people ditched in to the North Sea.

The CHC aircraft landed in the water in a controlled ditching on Monday afternoon.

All 19 workers being transported from Aberdeen to the West Phoenix drilling rig on the Super Puma EC225 were accounted for after the aircraft went down, the coastguard said, while there were no injuries reported.

The coastguard confirmed the helicopter had come down 32 miles south west of Sumburgh Head in Shetland.

All passengers are being taken to Kirkwall on Orkney for health check-ups following the ditching at around 3.20pm.

Three rescue helicopters and three RNLI lifeboats from Kirkwall, Aith and Lerwick were sent to the scene of the ditching.

A coastguard spokeswoman said: "Shetland Coastguard has been coordinating a major search and rescue operation after a helicopter ditched off the coast of Fair Isle this afternoon.

"There were 19 people on board, all of which have now been accounted for."

Some of those on board the helicopter were rescued by the Danish Nord Nightingale tanker, which was close to the site where the Super Puma came down and deployed its fast rescue craft.

The helicopter was flying from Aberdeen to the West Phoenix drilling rig, about 86 miles north-west of Shetland.

A spokesman for the coastguard said the weather in the area was good. He added: "It has been quite calm today and that has been favourable in terms of getting the rescue crews to the scene quickly."

A Scottish Government spokesman added: "We are aware that a helicopter has ditched in the North Sea, south of Sumburgh and we understand that all 19 people on board are now safe and well following the dispatch of emergency services to the site.

"Scottish ministers are being kept updated on the situation and we will release further information when it becomes known."

Helicopter company CHC has a base in Aberdeen and describes itself as the "world’s largest helicopter services company" specialising in transporting workers to and from offshore oil and gas platforms.

A CHC spokesperson said: "The appropriate authorities have been informed and the company's incident management team has been mobilised."


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