It’s now accepted that there’s no hope of finding any survivors from Wednesday’s helicopter accident in the North Sea. Sixteen people were aboard the Super Puma that crashed into the water 14 miles from Peterhead on its journey back from BP’s Miller oil platform.
The whole North Sea oil industry depends on helicopters to ferry personnel back and forth, and more than a hundred people have died in crashes since production began. Only in February another Super Puma came down in the sea in fog. On that occasion, all 18 people aboard were rescued, but 11 men were killed in 1992 when their Super Puma fell into the sea on a 200 yard journey from a production platform to an accommodation barge.
The world’s worst ever civilian helicopter accident happened in the North Sea in 1986 when a Chinook carrying workers home from the Brent field crashed as it was approaching Sumburgh Airport on Shetland. Its rotor blades collided with each other, and the aircraft came down in the sea and sank, killing 45 of the 47 people aboard.
Spot the difference. When Palestine’s democratically elected Hamas government refused to be bound by agreements that earlier Palestinian administrations had made with Israel, US President George W Bush orchestrated an international conspiracy (in which Labour enthusiastically joined) to starve the Palestinians into submission. Now Israel’s new Foreign Minister has repudiated agreements earlier Israeli governments made with the Palestinians. When do you expect President Obama to start trying to starve the Israelis into submission? Safety warning – don’t hold your breath.