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Piper -A

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  • Piper -A

    It seems hard to beleive it's 20 years today since the oil industry's worst nightmare came true.

    167 lives lost in 22 minutes and a petroleum company found guilty of inadequate maintenance procedures.

    If anyone remembers the TV documentry "Rescue" that followed the Sea King crews of 202 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth. A cameraman was on one of the Helicopters that was first on the scene and the horror was shown to the world close up. Pilot Flight Lieutenant Steve Hodgson of 202 Squadron recalled

    " We had excellent training, but I don't think that any form of training could prepare you for what we were confronted with that night.

    "It was dark ahead of us, and then all of a sudden in the distance we could see a huge fire. I would imagine it was something like 50 to 70 miles in front of us. It was a massive set of flames, the heat was intense.

    "I actually remember people in the helicopter closing windows as we moved round. We normally fly with the windows open but they were closed because you could feel the heat from a considerable distance away."

  • #2
    Time flies. I didn't believe it was that long until I realised I used the contents of the book accompanying the TV series for a Presentation on SAR in 1990 as part of my deck officer training.

    I remember the Floating Fire Fighting Platform " MSV Tharos" was the hero of the tragedy, putting itself in harms way numerous times in an effort to allow those on board escape, at great risk to its own crew. It also provided the only means of escape to those on board, as the helipad on the rig have become engulfed. I understand the Radio operator aboard Piper Alpha was one of the last fatalities, and continued to broadcast updates throughout the tragedy.
    There is a "Seconds from disaster" episode which details the cause of this tragedy. Shocking how a simple thing can cause the deaths of so many.

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.