LONDON (AP) -- Four people have died after a helicopter carrying 18 from an offshore oil platform crashed into the North Sea off Scotland, police said Saturday.
The Eurocopter Super Puma helicopter ditched into the sea about two miles (3 kilometers) from Sumburgh airport in Shetland on Friday night. It was carrying 16 passengers and two crew members.
The aircraft's operator CHC, a company that serves offshore oil and gas platforms, said the aircraft was approaching the airport when it lost contact with air traffic control. The coastguard agency said it sent helicopters and lifeboats to the scene after receiving a distress signal.
"There appears to have been a catastrophic loss of power which meant the helicopter suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing," said Jim Nicholson, a rescue coordinator.
CHC would not speculate on what caused the crash, saying it would cooperate fully with an investigation by police and the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
Police in Scotland said three bodies had been recovered, and they were searching for the fourth victim.
The 14 survivors were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were not serious. Oil company Total UK said one of them was its employee, while the others worked for separate contractor groups.
Friday's crash was the latest in a string of incidents involving Super Puma helicopters in Scotland in recent years. Two such helicopters ditched in the North Sea last year, with all the passengers rescued. One crashed while returning from a BP platform in 2009, killing 16 people.
Bob Crow, general secretary of the offshore workers' union RMT, said the Super Puma fleet should be grounded until the causes of Friday's crash were established.
ROME (AP) -- One of Amanda Knox's lawyers says the American won't return to Italy for a new appeals trial over the 2007 killing of her British roommate.
In March, Italy's supreme court ordered a new trial for Knox and her former Italian boyfriend for the slaying of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, where they were students. An appeals court in 2011 had acquitted both, overturning convictions by a lower court. The new appeals trial begins in Florence on Sept. 30.
Florence daily La Nazione quoted lawyer Luciano Ghirga Saturday as saying he recently met with Knox and fellow defense team members in the U.S., and that the American confirmed what her lawyers said right after the supreme court ruling -- she won't return to Italy for the new trial.
BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's commissioner to the European Union says he expects a future aid package for Greece to amount to a little more than 10 billion euros ($13.36 billion) -- which is much smaller than the country's existing two rescue deals.
Guenther Oettinger, the EU's energy commissioner and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative party, said Saturday the third aid package should cover the years 2014-2016.
In two bailout packages so far, Greece's European partners and the International Monetary Fund have committed 240 billion euros ($320 billion) in loans. This week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there will have to be another aid program after the current one expires next year.
Oettinger's comments to weekly Welt am Sonntag came four weeks before Germany's general elections on Sept. 22.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- The South African government says former leader Nelson Mandela remains in critical but stable condition in hospital, though "medical interventions" are required because his health sometimes becomes unstable.
The office of South African President Jacob Zuma said Saturday that doctors are working hard for a "turnaround" in the condition of 95-year-old Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital on June 8 with what officials said was a recurring lung infection.
In a statement, Zuma's office quotes doctors as saying the former president and anti-apartheid leader has shown resilience and that his condition has tended to stabilize after medical treatments when his health deteriorates.
Zuma is urging South Africa to pray for Mandela and to keep him in their thoughts at all times.
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) -- An official says suspected Islamist extremists killed at least 44 villagers in continuing attacks in an Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria.
The official of the National Emergency Management Agency says the attackers hit Dumba village in Borno state before dawn Tuesday and slit their victims' throats -- a new strategy since gunfire attracts security forces.
He said the attackers gouged out the eyes of some victims who survived. The official spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters.
Dumba is near the fishing village of Baga where security forces in March gunned down 187 civilians in retaliation for an attack by extremists.
It is difficult to get information from the area under a state of emergency, with cellphone and Internet service cut.
Borno is one of three northeastern states under a state of emergency declared May 14 to crack down on the Boko Haram terrorist network.
Since 2010, more than 1,700 people have been killed in attacks by Islamic insurgents, according to an Associated Press count.
BEIRUT (AP) -- Lebanese authorities say the death toll from twin car bombs in the northern city of Tripoli has risen to 47.
Lebanon's police also said Saturday that some 300 people are still in the hospital -- 65 of them in critical condition -- following the explosions outside two Sunni Muslim mosques a day earlier.
The coordinated bombings in the predominantly Sunni city raised sectarian tensions in fragile Lebanon to dangerous levels and heightened fears the country could be slipping into a cycle of revenge attacks between the Sunni and Shiite communities.
Friday's blast was the second to hit Lebanon in just over a week. A car bomb targeted an overwhelmingly Shiite district south of Beirut controlled by the militant group Hezbollah on Aug. 15, killing 27 people.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A spokesman for Pakistan's main Taliban group says the head of a side-group has been stripped of his leadership for welcoming the government's peace talk offer.
The Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said Saturday that the group's executive council has removed Ismatullah Muawiya from the leadership of Pujabi Taliban militants.
Shahid said in a statement that Muawiya was not authorized to respond to the Pakistan government's offer for talks. He said the group's leadership will issue later their stance on talks.
Muawiya responded to The Associated Press that the executive council didn't have the capacity to remove him because the Punjabi Taliban is a separate group. He said his group has its own decision-making body to decide leadership and other matters.
BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese police have detained a journalist on suspicion of causing trouble, after he openly alleged that a senior government official was negligent with his public duties.
Si Weijiang, a lawyer for Liu Hu, said the journalist was detained by Beijing police Friday at his home in the southern city of Chongqing and taken to Beijing. Beijing police did not immediately respond to inquiries Saturday regarding Liu.
In postings on his personal microblogs, Liu had urged authorities to investigate Ma Zhengqi, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, saying Ma was derelict while working in Chongqing. The microblogs were later removed.
His arrest is a sign that Beijing does not tolerate online exposure of possible wrongdoings by government officials and party cadres.
TOKYO (AP) -- The operator of Japan's crippled nuclear plant says deteriorated seams and a possible contortion of a tank might have caused a recent massive contaminated water leak.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday that the tank was reassembled after being relocated from a site where its foundation had partially collapsed. The tank's 300-ton leak was found Monday.
TEPCO said the tank passed a water-tightness test after being reassembled. The leak might have started when rubber seals degenerated, failing to cushion the tank's possible contortion.
TEPCO said that the leaked water seeped mostly underground, but that some might have escaped into the Pacific.
The plant suffered multiple meltdowns following Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Radioactive water from elsewhere in the plant has also been leaking into the ocean.
DARWIN, Australia (AP) -- Police are searching a northern Australian river for a 24-year-old man suspected to have been snatched by a crocodile while swimming with a friend.
Police Senior Sergeant Peter Lindfield says police received reports Saturday afternoon that the man had been attacked by a crocodile while he swam at Mary River, an Outback tourist destination 110 kilometers (70 miles) southeast of the Northern Territory capital Darwin.
Mary River Wilderness Retreat employee Erin Bayard says the missing man and his friend had ignored warnings not to go in the water.
Bayard told News Corp. Australia websites the river has one of the largest crocodile populations in tropical Australia.
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