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All on board crashed helicopter off Scotland safe: air force

File photo: Supa Puma helicopter.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 18, 2009
All 18 people on board a helicopter that went down in the North Sea off the east coast of Scotland on Wednesday have been rescued, the coastguard said.

The 16 passengers and two crew are safe and well and have been taken to an oil platform near where the Super Puma helicopter went down, about 120 miles (200 kilometres) east of Aberdeen, a city on the eastern Scottish coast.

There were some minor injuries but nothing serious, the coastguard said, adding that three people had been rescued by a helicopter and the other 15 were recovered by a lifeboat sent out by the platform.

James Lyne, a spokesman for the Royal Air Force (RAF) base at Kinloss on the northeastern Scottish coast, told the BBC that the helicopter was still floating on the surface of the water.

He could not explain why it had gone down but said an investigation was underway.

The coastguard had called in support from RAF Kinloss after the aircraft went down at about 6:40 pm (18.40 GMT).

A Nimrod aircraft and an RAF Sea King helicopter were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth, near Kinloss, as well as two civilian helicopters, the Ministry of Defence in London told AFP.

Media reports suggested the helicopter was heading towards the oil platform in the middle of the North Sea, having taken off from Aberdeen.

Lyne said all those on board would have been wearing immersion suits that would have protected them from the cold of the sea for some time.

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Venezuela, China boost economic ties
Caracas (AFP) Feb 17, 2009
Venezuela and China agreed to boost economic relations Tuesday, as Vice President Xi Jinping began a two-day visit to the country and Beijing continued to expand its presence in Latin America.

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