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Thu 4 Sep 2008 11:25 AM

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Seven killed in Dubai helicopter tragedy

UPDATE 1: No survivors after aircraft crashes into oil rig 70km off the coast of Dubai, falls into sea.

Seven people were killed in a helicopter crash off the coast of Dubai, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced on Thursday.

The accident happened at about 8.20pm on Wednesday - about 70km off the coast of Dubai - as the B212 helicopter was on route to a Gulf oil rig having taken off from Dubai International Airport.

The helicopter crashed into an oil rig killing all seven people on board and forcing the closure of the Rashid oilfield, the authorities said.

Dubai produces a fraction of the oil output of the United Arab Emirates, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter. Dubai pumped around 65,000 barrels per day in 2007, according to trade estimates, out of the UAE's output of around 2.5 million bpd.

The helicopter crashed onto the deck of the Maersk jack-up drilling rig, they said.

"The aircraft then broke up and fell into the sea," Petrofac, the operator of Dubai government's offshore oilfields, said in a statement. It declined to say how much the oilfield produces.

"Immediately following the incident, a fire broke out on the main deck of the drilling rig which was quickly contained and extinguished... All operations on the Rashid field have been suspended and the platform and drilling rig have been secured."

The helicopter was carrying an American, a Briton, a Pakistani, a Filipino, a Venezuelan and two Indians, none of whom survived, the civil aviation authority said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. The relatives of the deceased, who are contractor personnel and are confirmed as non UAE Nationals, are currently being informed. No Petrofac personnel are among the deceased.

"The General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates immediately set up an investigation team to find out the cause of the aircraft crash," it said in a statement.

Dubai's output peaked in 1991 at over 400,000 bpd. Despite its decline, Dubai is still used as a benchmark for prices for Middle East crude.

Dubai's output comes from four main fields including Rashid. The others are Fateh, southwest Fateh and Falah.

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Mehdi Gharavi 11 years ago

Could you please tell me if this article is about a tragidy of seven people dying or is it about how much oil is produced?

Alex 11 years ago

My thoughts exactly. perhaps using the article about the tragedy to talk about oil produced is perhaps inappropriate.

Ashar 11 years ago

What makes it compulsory to add One Brit and One American in the headlines of this news story while there were 4 other nationalities who lost their citizens as well. When will this white worship end in the UAE?

Huda 11 years ago

Oh we should thank God no UAE nationals got hurt nor any Petrofac personnel! Sadly though, the crash forced the closure of the oilfield, on the bright side, the fire was quickly contained and extinguished! It is quite sad that a tragedy such as this is focused on the money making business and offers barely 5 lines to the victims. When have we become such an inhumane community where we focus on the nationalities of the dead and the business losses only.

Ubaidallah S. ALGHAMDI 11 years ago

I agree with the previous 3 comments and would like to add that this incident is one of many that point to Lack of adherence to Safety Procedures that causes a lot of accidents in the Dubai and UAE. It is good to know about Oil Production, but it should be on a separate article!!!

paul. 11 years ago

Dear Ashar What makes them white just because they are British or american.

Lokesh 11 years ago

Its something sad, no one is interested to know how much oil Dubai produces.. come on.. you should have a separate report on that.

Sinan 11 years ago

I agree with most of the readers, what has oil production got to do with this tragedy? I am thinking about the families of the deceased. When one person dies the loss is felt by many. I send my condolences to these families and hope that they will be compensated fairly. It does not matter if they were UAE nationals or not, we are all the same.