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Four die in helicopter crash off coast of Scotland

A helicopter carrying oil rig workers crashed into the sea off Scotland's Shetland Isles on Friday night, killing four. The remaining 14 passengers have been rescued.

The helicopter was operated by CHC, a company that serves offshore oil and gas platforms. It crashed into the sea about three kilometers (two miles) from Sumburgh Airport, as it was returning to Shetland from the Borgsten Dolphin platform. It was carrying 16 passengers and two crew members.

Three men and a woman died, 14 people were rescued, after the Super Puma L2 helicopter, made by the EADS subsidiary Eurocopter, came down. It's the fourth incident in the area involving different models of the widely-used aircraft in just over four years.

"The bodies of three people have been recovered and work is under way to recover the body of the fourth person," Police Scotland said in a statement.

The body of the fourth victim is believed to be in the wreckage.

It is unclear what caused the crash. There appeared "to have been a catastrophic loss of power which meant the helicopter suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing," according to Jim Nicholson, rescue coordinator with the UK's Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

"It's fortunate there were not more casualties in a helicopter crash of this kind," he added.

A mother of one of the survivors told Britain's Sky News channel: "He said it seemed to lose power and there was no time to brace. They just dropped into the sea. He was by a window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over."

CHC said it would carry out an investigation and temporarily suspended its Super Puma L2 flights worldwide as well as all flights by its UK operations on Saturday.

ng/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)