Last year a helicopter carrying workers to their rigs crashed into the North Sea.
My brother-in-law takes a helicopter out to work on his rig, every so often. He wasn’t on this one.
20 years ago, before my sister was married, there was a terrible fire on one of the rigs in the North Sea. 167 men were killed and only 59 survived. Two of those who died were rescuers. My brother-in-law was with us that day. After she was married I went to visit my sister and we walked around the beautiful rose garden that had been planted as a memorial to the men lost that day.
People die in the North Sea oil business, and it is so much a part of life there that the memorials are beautiful places where you take visiting family members.
When an accident happens at sea, there’s usually not much for the news crews to film. This time, however, some filmmakers were on a ship that joined the rescue efforts. They turned their cameras on and recorded poignant, silent footage of all the ships in the area turning as one and heading towards the crash site. Every person on those ships knew that, no matter what they had been doing a moment before, this was what needed to be done now. Seconds might make all the difference in the frigid waters of the North Sea.
This time it did not. 14 families had a hole punched through them.
That night my sister, talking about something else, slipped in the line, “If he had been one of the men on that helicopter, I’d have just got on with things, of course, but…”
She lives in a place where these things happen and where you talk about them as if they might. (But you don’t talk about them too much.)
This is part of the cost of using fossil fuels.
And this is why I will never complain about the pennies I pay to fill the car I choose to drive.