A Eurocopter AS332LP Super Puma has crashed in the North Sea off the Scottish coastline with 18 people aboard.

As of press time, 15 people have been rescued and sent to hospital, while three remain missing. While some of the survivors are reported to be seriously injured, few details are immediately available.

The helicopter crashed into the sea roughly two miles from Sumburgh, Shetland Isles. The aircraft was operated by CHC Helicopter, which routinely ferries oil workers to oil platforms in the North Sea.

Another Eurocopter type, the EC225, was grounded after ditchings in May and October 2012, the latter also involving CHC, caused by the failure of a key gearbox component. This led regulators in the UK and Norway to impose overwater flight bans, lifted in July with component fixes.

As of the time of writing, there is no indication as to the cause of the recent accident. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has sent a team to investigate the incident.

Source: Flight International