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Search for black box in crash probe

Source BBC News@

Clockwise from top left: George Allison, Sarah Darnley, Gary McCrossan, Duncan MunroFour people died in the incident. Clockwise from top left: George Allison, 57, Sarah Darnley, 45, Duncan Munro, 46, Gary McCrossan, 59

Experts are using specialist sonar equipment to locate a key piece of evidence in the investigation into the Super Puma crash off Shetland.

Four people died when a helicopter carrying oil workers crash landed into the North sea on Friday.

The fuselage was recovered on Sunday but the salvage team is still looking for the tail section, which contained the black box flight data recorder.

Industry representatives have agreed all Super Pumas should remain grounded.

At a meeting of key offshore operators and contractors on Monday, contingency plans were discussed.

Helicopter operators are set to share aircraft and workers will also be transferred on and offshore by boat.

The crash on Friday killed three men and a woman.

They were Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.

They were among 18 people on board the Super Puma AS332 L2 as it flew from the Borgsten Dolphin rig to Sumburgh airport in Shetland.

RNLI volunteers retrieved helicopter wreckageRNLI volunteers inspect the helicopter wreckage

Two of the 14 people rescued remain in hospital.

It is hoped the information contained in the flight data recorder will help establish what caused the aircraft to suffer a catastrophic loss of power on approach to Sumburgh airport.

The salvage vessel Bibby Polaris remains at the crash site.

Speaking after the meeting in Aberdeen, Oil and Gas UK Chief Executive, Malcolm Webb, said a number of options were being considered to transport workers while the Super Pumas are out of service.

He added: "We will look at several things. We will look at sharing of aircraft, what can we do to make sure the capacity that is available to us is used as efficiently as we possibly can.

"We will look to see if there are any other aircraft around the world that could be brought in to the UK to assist and we will also look at marine transfers."

Duncan Trapp of CHC Helicopter, which operated the Super Puma, has promised the crash will be "painstakingly investigated".

He said: "We are fully supporting the early stages of the investigation into the incident and will continue to give our full co-operation to this process."

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