Helicopter crash caused by optical illusion

Under certain conditions, an offshore 
platform can look very different

Optical illusions are not just fun to look at. They can be dangerous.

A helicopter approaching an offshore platform crashed into the sea when it was 300 yards away. Luckily, none of the passengers or pilots were hurt.

The team analyzing the crash said the pilots were probably confused by the dark, the low clouds, and the reflection of the platform in the sea as they approached.

The pilots were unaware that the helicopter was descending towards the ocean since a height warning system had been turned off.

The UK inspectors recommended a study be done on the visual illusions pilots might encounter when approaching offshore platforms.

BP's Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) platform

- North Sea helicopter crashed after pilots confused by 'illusions', News Scotsman>>
- Photo by Geoff Comley>>

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