The grief-stricken pilot of a doomed helicopter which crashed off Sumburgh killing four oil workers has told a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) how his “world ended” that day.
Captain Martin Midlands, 58, from Aberdeenshire, was flying the stricken Super Puma copter which ditched in the Atlantic Ocean in cloudy weather just 1.7 miles from Sumburgh Airport.
An FAI into the Sumburgh crash off Shetland, being held virtually, has now started.
The tragic flight was returning workers from the Borgsten Dolphin oil platform in the North Sea to Aberdeen, via Shetland for refuelling.
A statement by chief pilot Capt Midlands, made earlier this year, was read to the court in which he described not remembering the vital moment before the helicopter crashed into the water.
A video of an interview with police just days after the tragedy is being viewed by the inquiry, being led by Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle this afternoon.
He said: “I have never recovered from the anguish from the incident. It has destroyed my head. My world ended with that crash.
“I recall water filling the cockpit. I will never forget that.
“I break down when thinking about the accident. It is the worst nightmare you can imagine.”
The passengers who died were: Sarah Darnley, 45, of Elgin; Gary McCrossan, 59, of Inverness; Duncan Munro, 46, of Bishop Auckland; and 57-year-old George Allison, of Winchester.
The inquiry will hear from survivors, counsel for families, the Civil Aviation Authority, helicopter operator CHC, and plane manufacturer AirBus.
The victims were offshore workers travelling onboard a Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma helicopter belonging to CHC Helicopters when it crashed on approach to Sumburgh Airport on August 23, 2013.
The aircraft was flying workers off the Borgsten Dolphin oil platform.
In 2016, a report said flight instruments were “not monitored effectively” by the pilots in the moments leading up to the crash.
The FAI into the Sumburgh crash is expected to last four weeks.
Highlands and Islands Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle decided it would be conducted using information technology due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.