ABERDEEN, Scotland -- Police confirmed Thursday all 16 people aboard a helicopter that crashed into the North Sea off the Scottish coast have died.
As the recovery operation continued Thursday, officials said they were trying to determine what caused the helicopter to crash in apparently calm conditions and good visibility, The Time of London reported. The Super Puma helicopter was returning from the BP Miller oil platform when the accident occurred.
Eight bodies have been recovered. Colin Menzies, Grampian Police assistant chief constable, confirmed that the remaining missing crew were either trapped in the helicopter or floated away from the crash site, 14 miles from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.
"The grim reality is that the crew of 16 on board has been lost," Menzies said.
Bond Offshore, the company that operated the aircraft, said it had "no plans to ground" its other Super Pumas, despite calls to do so, The Scotsman reported. When another Super Puma crashed six weeks ago with no fatalities, the company temporarily grounded the aircraft as a precaution.
A Bond spokesman said, "We have every confidence in the Super Puma."
Investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch were expected to arrive at the crash site Thursday to begin their investigation.
Queen Elizabeth II sent a private letter of condolence to the victims' families of the victims, The Times reported. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also offered condolences while Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, said that he was "shocked and saddened" by the incident.
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