An oil worker who died after falling from an offshore platform into the North Sea will be “sorely missed”, his family have said.
George Bartlett, 62, fell during maintenance work on the Taqa-operated Harding platform, about 198 miles north east of Aberdeen, at about 2.15am yesterday.
Mr Bartlett, from Shotts, North Lanarkshire, was recovered from the water and airlifted to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, Shetland, but later died.
In a statement, his family said: “George was a loving husband, father and grandfather, and will be sorely missed by us all.
“He has worked offshore for many years but, no matter how far away he was, he would always be in touch.
“We are a close-knit family and we now ask that we are given time to come to terms with our loss.”
More than 70 workers have been flown off the rig as production of the 120,000 barrels-a-day operation is ceased while investigations into Thursday’s early morning incident gets underway.
Jake Molloy, regional RMT organiser for the offshore industry, said answers were required over the circumstances of the death, particularly given the hour of the tragedy.
“Until we know the circumstances it is difficult to comment but what seems strange is that the worker went into the sea around 2am,” Molloy said.
“I can’t imagine what put him in that situation given that he would have to have been working outwith the platform structure, working at height or working over the side.
“It would be unusual for anybody to be working over the side like this at night. However, I do not want to speculate at this stage.
“This is a highly regrettable fatality and it is the first we have had for a number of years.”
All other 108 people on board the Harding platform were accounted for shortly after the accident. Around 35 were kept on the platform for essential work but the remainder were flown off yesterday afternoon as production was halted.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “The investigation is currently being treated as a work-related death and Police Scotland are working with partners, carrying out a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive and under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to determine the full circumstances.”