A memorial to air crew and passengers who lost their lives in several air accidents is to be installed at Sumburgh Airport.
The memorial is dedicated to those who lost their lives in four accidents involving aircraft and crews based in Shetland, including the 1979 Dan Air tragedy, in which 17 passengers and crew died, and the 1986 Chinook helicopter accident, which claimed the lives of 45 people.
Airport managers at Sumburgh have been working with friends and relatives to establish a lasting memorial to those who perished in the incidents.
The memorial will also commemorate those who lost their lives in two North Sea tragedies – the Brent Spar platform accident in 1990 and the Cormorant Alpha accident in 1992.
A site for the memorial has been identified close to the airport terminal and a basic design has been agreed. The memorial will consist of a horseshoe-shaped stone structure which will be dedicated to the earlier two accidents, and two bespoke hardwood benches constructed in memory of the Brent Spar and Cormorant Alpha incidents.
A committee has been formed to raise funds for the construction and upkeep of the memorial, due to be unveiled in May next year. Donations can be made online via a website dedicated to the project – www.sumburghairportmemorial.co.uk – or posted to Sumburgh Airport Memorial, c/o Coastguard SAR Flight, Sumburgh Airport, Virkie, Shetland, ZE3 9JP.
Support has already been received from airport operator HIAL, Ness Engineering, BP, Taqa, Shetland College and Shell.
Airport manager Nigel Flaws said: “We have been working closely with the friends and relatives of those who died in these tragedies to establish a lasting memorial, and we are grateful to everyone who has given their support to the project.
“It will be a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives. As a result of those tragedies, aircraft safety standards have improved greatly to the point where air travel is now the safest form of transport.”