Norway was in mourning this weekend, following the tragic helicopter crash off the coast of Bergen, the country’s second largest city, on Friday. The Airbus EC-225 helicopter had been ferrying staff from an offshore Statoil rig in the Gullfaks B oilfield before the crash killed all 13 people on board.
On Saturday, a sombre Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, accompanied by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit met the relatives of the victims gathered in Bergen. Rescue teams were still working to pull the wrecked fuselage from the sea and experts from across Europe began to try to work out why the crash happened.
After the near two-hour meeting, Prime Minister Solberg said “It was a strong experience to meet the relatives. The youngest is six weeks old, the oldest is more than 80,”. 11 of the victims were Norwegian, with others coming from Britain and Italy.The ages of the victims ranged from 32 and 60 and many had worked for a variety of companies involved with the oil industry.
Norway has a very good aviation safety record, and at this stage neither the police or the Accident Investigation Board Norway were commenting on possible causes of the accident or whether a mayday message was sent by the pilots prior to the helicopter crashing. The helicopter’s two black box flight recorders have been sent to Britain to be analysed and more information is expected from the investigators in the coming weeks.
Crown Prince Haakon, whose Godmother is the Princess Royal, is the patron of the Norwegian Lifesaving Society, though sadly in this case none of the victims were saved. Like his distant cousins Prince Andrew and Prince William, he has seen Naval service, serving in the Royal Norwegian Navy on motor torpedo boats rather than helicopters.