A helicopter returning from a North Sea oil platform went down off the northeast coast of Scotland on Wednesday with 16 people on board, and police said at least eight were killed.

Scotland's Grampian Police said eight bodies have been recovered from the sea and the search for eight other people continues.

A spokesman for BP oil company said the helicopter was working for the oil company and was returning to Britain from an offshore oil field.

Jake Molloy, spokesman for the oil workers union Oilc, said the helicopter was a Bond Super Puma Flight 85 N, which had been due to arrive at Aberdeen Heliport at 2:15 p.m. local time (1315GMT).

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said two Royal Air Force helicopters and a Nimrod airplane went to the area, along with ships in the vicinity.

Local hospitals in nearby Aberdeen, about 535 miles north of London, put their major incident plan into place in order to deal with the accident.

Wednesday's crash was the second such incident this year. Both incidents involved the same Super Puma model of helicopter.

In the February crash, everyone was rescued.

Helicopters have been used to ferry workers to and from the oil and gas fields off the Scottish coast since the construction of platforms there in the 1970s.