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2.56 pm

Mr. Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Since the conclusion of the last debate, I have received news that a helicopter engaged in duties on behalf the lighthouse board has been involved in an accident in Orkney. I am not yet fully aware of the circumstances, but I understand that the helicopter, which was working in fairly high winds and carrying a load underneath it on a steel rope, crashed into the sea when that steel rope snapped and became entangled in the helicopter's rotor blades.

People in coastal communities throughout the country are always deeply aware of the risks that those who work for bodies such as the lighthouse board, the Royal

24 May 2002 : Column 576

National Lifeboat Institution and the Maritime and Coastguard agency take upon themselves in the course of their duties. I am mindful of the fact that we are about to go into recess, and I would not wish the House do so without placing on record our concern not only for the missing pilot—we hope that he will be recovered safely—but for his family and work colleagues at what must clearly be a very difficult time for them.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Although that is not a point of order for the occupant of the Chair, I too wish to express my concern at the news that the hon. Gentleman brings. The House would wish to express its concern to the pilot's family and its grateful thanks and appreciation to the emergency services for the work that they are no doubt currently undertaking.

Question put and agreed to.

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