Image: Oil platform Thistle Alpha
Petrofac via Reuters
The North Sea oil platform Thistle Alpha, shown in an undated photo, caught fire Sunday, and helicopters were fighting strong winds to rescue the 159 workers aboard it, officials said.
updated 11/25/2007 5:48:58 PM ET 2007-11-25T22:48:58

Dozens of workers were airlifted to safety in high winds after their North Sea oil platform caught fire Sunday, officials said.

The blaze was extinguished with no injuries and workers were returning to the platform, the government said.

Some 116 of the 159 people aboard the remote Thistle Alpha platform, 120 miles northwest of Britain’s Shetland Islands, were taken off the platform by seven rescue helicopters, said the Health and Safety Executive.

Battling strong northwesterly winds, the helicopters — some from Britain and some from Norway — took the rescued workers to three nearby oil platforms, said Royal Air Force spokesman Michael Mulford.

“This is just about as remote as it gets,” he said.

Mulford said the cause of the fire, which began at 8:30 a.m., was not immediately known.

“Firefighters on the platform have put out the fire. There are no injuries, and they are going to put people back on,” the Health and Safety Executive said several hours after the fire began.

The Thistle Alpha platform is operated by the Swedish company Lundin Petroleum AB, which is listed on the Nordic stock exchange. The company issued no immediate comment.

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