Helicopter lands at Sumburgh after emergency
A full emergency was declared at Sumburgh Airport this afternoon after a helicopter was forced to land.
Emergency services rushed to the scene when the incident was reported shortly after 2.30pm. It is understood the helicopter landed after a warning light about a possible fire on board came on.
Coastguard rescue teams and lifeboats were mobilised, and fire appliances headed off from Lerwick, Sumburgh and Scalloway. However, they were stood down once it emerged the aircraft had landed safely.
The incident came after Shetland MSP Tavish Scott accused BP of failing to keep health and ambulance representatives up to speed with the decision to axe its jigsaw helicopter service in 2016.
While the aircraft are principally to provide cover in the offshore industries, they have also been contracted to the Scottish Ambulance Service to help it fulfil its role in the isles.
Mr Scott is now calling for talks to be held to help “clarify” BP’s position.
He said: “The BP Jigsaw helicopter, the coastguard helicopter and the Scottish Ambulance Service play a combined role in serving Shetland’s emergency needs.
“I would expect BP to have already opened discussions with both NHS Shetland and the Scottish Ambulance Service but judging from last week that has yet to happen. I have therefore asked for an urgent meeting with BP.
“I want to understand the basis of their review, what discussions they plan with the emergency services in Shetland and how best the islands will be covered in future both for local people and the offshore industry.”
The decision to end the contract with Bond Helicopters sparked uncertainty last week, with union leaders highlighting concerns over offshore safety.
Currently one aircraft is based at Sumburgh Airport while a second is stationed offshore.
BP said last week the safety of its workforce was at the forefront of everything that it does. Contacted today by The Shetland Times, the company said no firm decision about future provision had yet been taken. It said the helicopter based on the Miller platform in the North Sea would only be removed through decommissioning. The Sumburgh-based helicopter would stay, it said, while alternative solutions are sought as part of a “wider discussion”.
Oil and Gas UK said: “The safety of our workforce is of paramount importance and the oil and gas industry is currently looking at helicopter search and rescue provision in the Central North Sea.”