French oil major Total is flying a team of crisis engineers to inspect its leaking North Sea Elgin gas platform with a view to eventually plugging the well, it said on Thursday.

Total confirms that a helicopter took off from Aberdeen at 10:30 a.m. British time today with the objective of landing on the Elgin PUQ (Process, Utilities, Quarters) to allow a specialised team to perform a reconnaissance mission of the Elgin wellhead platform and the G4 well, if it is safe to do so, a spokesman said.

The crew of eight aboard the helicopter is a mix of Total and Houston-based Wild Well Control staff.

(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; editing by James Jukwey)