Wattisham copters in North Sea rescue

TWO helicopters from Wattisham Airfield were involved in a major rescue operation in the North Sea after a fire on a gas rig near the Humber estuary.Two people were injured in the fire, and the other 56 people on the rig had to be evacuated.

TWO helicopters from Wattisham Airfield were involved in a major rescue operation in the North Sea after a fire on a gas rig near the Humber estuary.

Two people were injured in the fire, and the other 56 people on the rig had to be evacuated.

The two helicopters from Wattisham joined other aircraft from Leconfield in Yorkshire and a fleet of lifeboats and rig supply craft during the evacuation.

Flt Lt Steve Murkin, who was on board the Wattisham helicopter, said: “It was quite a major operation. Everyone on the rig had to be evacuated.


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“Some people were taken to another nearby rig while others were taken ashore. We were involved with helping to take people off.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency co-ordinated the rescue operation, about 25 miles south east of Flamborough Head.

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A spokesman said 58 people were on the rig at the time and two had already been taken to hospital in Hull.

The fire was brought under control within about two hours.

The MCA spokesman said a total of 58 people were on the platform when the fire started.

He said 16 people were evacuated on to another platform whilst nine were taken to the standby vessel. Another 31 people remained on the platform and two others were taken to Hull Royal Infirmary for treatment.

The spokesman said the incident started around 10.45am today when the Humber Coastguard was contacted by the standby vessel Putford Trader to say there was a fire on the gas storage facility at platform 47/3B.

One of the Sea King helicopters involved in the mission took part in last night's award ceremony at Buckingham Palace in which heroes of the July 7 attacks on London were honoured.

The helicopter, based at RAF Wattisham in Suffolk, flew into the Palace area before the ceremony.

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