Pilot Made Desperate Mayday Before Deadly Helicopter Crash

The final desperate message transmitted by the doomed Bond Offshore helicopter just moments before it plunged into the North Sea was revealed Friday.

The last seconds of the 14 passengers and two crew members emerged as specialist recovery vehicles combed the seabed for the remains of the craft. The bodies of the eight men who have not yet been found are believed to be trapped inside the Super Puma which crashed off the coast of Aberdeenshire on its return from BP's Miller oilfield on Wednesday.

Before it dropped into the sea in "a hard landing," the captain managed to sound a mayday which was heard by all boats and helicopters in the area at the time. One pilot, who asked not to be named, said he heard: "Mayday, mayday - oh, f—-." Then, there was only silence.

The pilot said: "Normally the crew would say 'mayday, mayday, mayday' and then provide any other information they could, including their position, what had gone wrong if they knew this and any action they intended to take."

He said that some of the pilots who were in the air when they heard the message have since been too distressed to fly. About 60 workers on the Miller platform have also been too upset to work and 19 of them have already been flown home.

Tributes to the men continued to come in Friday, but some family members said they were unhappy with the way they had heard the news of the tragedy. Brogan Taylor, 18, lost her father Leslie, 41. She said she learned about his death through a family friend. She called for a thorough inquiry to ensure no other families had to endure what she had.

Meanwhile, recovery vessel Vigilante, chartered by Air Accident investigators, arrived at the crash site this morning. It was carrying specialist sonar equipment to locate the wreckage and remove it from the seabed. A spokeswoman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which has 13 staff working on the case, said investigations were continuing at the scene.

Click here to read more on this story from the Times of London.