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Helicopter reported missing on way to Norwegian oil field

September 8, 1997

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ A helicopter carrying 12 people to an offshore oil field crashed off the Norwegian coast today, killing at least two people.

The helicopter was flying from Bronnoysund, a town 450 miles north of Oslo, to an oil production ship at the Norne field, 125 miles off the coast. There were no immediate reports of survivors.

Ellinor Sundseth of the Norwegian rescue center said two bodies, an empty life raft and wreckage were found east of the oil field.

Finn-Bjornar Hansen, spokesman the Rescue Coordination Center for north Norway, said an oil platform near the Norne field reported hearing from the helicopter by radio 11 minutes before it vanished and that everything was normal.

No signal had been picked from the aircraft’s emergency transmitter, he said.

Hansen said two helicopters, a military Orion aircraft and nine ships were searching a 330-square-mile section of the sea. Strong winds, rain, and waves of up to 10 feet were reported.

The 18-seat French-built Super Puma AS 332 helicopter, owned by Helikopter Service AS, was flying for the Norwegian state oil company Statoil, said Johan P. Petersen of Helikopter Service. He said there were 10 passengers and two crew aboard.

The state radio network NRK said eight passengers are employed by the Aker Maritime concern, one by the Kvaerner concern, and one by Statoil.

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