Crash victims 'heroes of industry'

The families of 16 workers killed when their helicopter crashed in the North Sea were told yesterday that the men are heroes who will never be forgotten.

The families of 16 workers killed when their helicopter crashed in the North Sea were told last week that the men were heroes who would never be forgotten.

Candles for each victim, including Wells-raised Nolan Goble, were lit during an emotional memorial service in Aberdeen.

Among the 1,000 inside the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting were Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and the Prince of Wales.

Around 2,000 members of the public who were unable to get inside stood in Aberdeen's Union Street and watched the service on big screens.

Relatives and friends of the victims of the crash, which took place exactly two weeks ago, looked on as tributes were paid.

Some wept as candles for the victims were lit in the church.

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The 14 passengers and two crew were returning from BP's Miller platform on April 1 when the Super Puma went down 11 miles north east of Peterhead.

Half the victims were from the north east of Scotland, seven from the rest of the UK and one was from Latvia.

Presiding over the service, the Rev Andrew Jolly, chaplain to the UK oil and gas industry, said: "This occasion must be for us all today a time of great sadness and sorrow.

"Those of us here in this kirk, and those who join us outside and offshore and around the world, cannot begin to imagine the pain and sorrow the relatives of those who perished on April 1, 2009 must be feeling at this time.

"But as we gather here today - representatives of the oil and gas industry, the Miller installation, the wider community of Aberdeen and the nation as a whole - we want all of you to know that your loss is our loss, that your sorrow is our sorrow too, and, as we share that with you, we want you to know that you can look to us in the days, months and years ahead for comfort, for love but most of all for support."

He urged people to sign the book of condolence for the dead adding: "It is important in these times of sorrow that such a book is created, for it serves to remind us of those who are the heroes in this industry.”

He assured the relatives of the dead men that the victims will never be forgotten.