Two Indians among seven killed in Dubai copter crash (Lead)

September 4th, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 4 (IANS) Two Indians were among seven people killed in a helicopter crash off the coast of Dubai Wednesday night, authorities said Thursday.The Bell 212 helicopter carrying two crew members and five passengers crashed into an offshore oil rig 50 nautical miles from this Middle Eastern metropolis at 8.20 p.m. Wednesday, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said.

The helicopter was operated by international oil and gas facilities provider Petrofac.

In a statement, Petrofac said the incident occurred when the helicopter with the seven people on board was on a routine infield flight to the Rashid oilfield 70 km from the coast of Dubai.

During the take-off, the helicopter crashed onto the deck of a jack-up drilling rig. The aircraft then broke up and fell into the sea.

“Immediately following the incident, a fire broke out on the main deck of the drilling rig which was quickly contained and extinguished,” the Petrofac statement said.

“Emergency response vessels and aircraft were mobilised and incident management control measures were immediately initiated in cooperation with the Dubai Police and Coastguard.”

Confirmation that there were no survivors came at about 1.30 a.m.

There were, however, no casualties on either the drilling rig or the platform.

All operations on the Rashid field have been suspended and the platform and drilling rig have been secured, Petrofac said.

Though the names of the deceased could not be known, it has been confirmed that they were all non-UAE nationals.

“The relatives of the deceased, who are contractor personnel and are confirmed as non-UAE nationals, are currently being informed. No Petrofac personnel are among the deceased,” the Petrofac statement said.

An accident investigation has been initiated with Dubai Police and the General Civil Aviation Authority.

Apart from the two Indians, the helicopter was carrying an American, a Briton, a Pakistani, a Filipino and a Venezuelan, reports here said.

Dubai produces only a fraction of the total oil output of the UAE, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter.

This emirate pumped around 65,000 barrels per day in 2007, according to trade estimates, out of the UAE’s output of around 2.5 million barrels per day, according to the Arabian Business magazine.

Apart from the Rashid, Dubai’s other major oilfields are Fateh, southwest Fateh and Falah.

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