Helicopter crash survivor from Newquay tells of North Sea nightmare
THE LAST survivor to escape from the wreckage of the helicopter which crashed killing four people has told of his recurring nightmares about the horror accident.
James Nugent, 41, of Newquay, was one of 14 survivors of the North Sea crash two miles from the Shetland Isles in Scotland this summer.
The off-shore oil worker made a miracle escape from the flooded wreckage of the Super Puma chopper, but has been left traumatised by the ordeal.
Father-of-one James said: "I get nightmares every night where I am fighting my way out of the fuselage, being held back and struggling to reach the surface.
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"I dream about people grabbing my hands and feet and they try to hold me back. Sometimes my clothes get caught in the fuselage and I can't get out. They are a lasting consequence of my traumatic experience."
Offshore oil worker James and 17 others were en route to Sumburgh Airport for refuelling when disaster struck on August 23.
James remembers hearing a huge bang from above, before the aircraft plummeted into the sea. Still strapped in with his seatbelts, he fought to survive as the helicopter began to sink.
He added: "I was hanging upside down in the fuselage for about a minute until I managed to release the harness. I closed my eyes and released my seatbelt. I was floating in the fuselage and managed to find an open window.
"Only when I reached the surface, I opened my eyes. It was absolute carnage. Everyone was panicking and one guy was having a heart attack. I think I was the last person out of the fuselage, apart from the people who didn't make it."
Scarred by the tragedy, James is struggling with everyday life and has been unable to return to work because of recurring memories. He also fractured his lower back in the crash.
Partner Emma, 33, and their three-year-old daughter Indi-Eve, have given him the strength to work through his trauma.
He said: "My daughter was the first thing that I thought of when it all happened and she's been great. I'm so happy to see her. Emma is the one who bore the brunt of everything from the accident to dealing with doctors and solicitors."
Sarah Darnley, 45, of Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester, lost their lives in the tragedy.