A North Sea helicopter was forced to return to an airport after it was struck by lightning on its way to an oil platform, it has emerged.
The Bond-operated EC225 was carrying 11 passengers and two crew at the time off the incident, off the coast of Aberdeen.
The helicopter has now been taken out of service until it is examined by engineers to see if the aircraft was damaged during the lightning strike.
Last year the Met Office carried out extensive research into incidents of helicopters triggering lightning strikes during the winter season.
Research revealed that strikes can occur when helicopters acquire a negative charge during flight and fly close to a positively charged cloud.
The study showed that these incidents are usually reported over the North Sea between October and the end of March.
There was no information available last night on which rig the Bond aircraft had been travelling to when it was struck.
A Bond Helicopters spokesman said: “We can confirm that an EC225 helicopter returned to Aberdeen airport last week (Saturday 27) after crew reported a suspected lightning strike.
“The aircraft is now being examined by engineers.”