All 13 people on-board a helicopter carrying North Sea oil platform workers that crashed on Norway's western coast are presumed dead, emergency services and police said Friday.

Two people were missing while 11 bodies were recovered when the search was halted late Friday. The search was to resume Saturday, police spokesman Stig Losnegaard told the Bergens Tidende daily.

The Norwegian Accident Investigation Board said the helicopter's flight data and cockpit voice recorders have been retrieved from the sea bottom and were to be sent Saturday to Britain for analysis.

Part of the wreckage was salvaged late Friday from the sea at a depth of 6-7 metres. The rotor blade was found earlier on a small island.

The Norwegian accident agency said its French and British counterparts were to offer help along with representatives of the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

The Eurocopter model EC225 aircraft was bound for Bergen from the Gullfaks B oil platform, operated by Norwegian energy company Statoil, when it crashed near Turoy, about 40 kilometres from the destination, with 11 passengers and two crew members.

"This is a sad day for all who work in the Norwegian oil and gas industry, and for Norway," Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.

"It appears to be a tragic accident and one of the worst in many years."

The crash was labelled as the most serious helicopter accident in the Scandinavian country since 1978, when 18 people died in the North Sea west of Bergen.

King Harald, Queen Sonja and the crown prince couple cancelled a planned visit Saturday to attend 70th birthday celebrations for Swedish King Carl Gustaf, the palace told news agency NTB.

The king expressed his condolences.

"It is a huge tragedy when 13 colleagues don't return home and families lose loved ones," said Arne Sigve Nylund, Statoil's vice president who heads its Norwegian continental shelf operations.

He said Statoil has shut down production at the oil field to allow workers to mourn, and clergy and crisis teams were en route to the platform.

The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority grounded all Eurocopter EC225 helicopter models in Norway.

Weather conditions were fair and did not hamper the search operation, which took place at sea and on land.

Anders Bang Andersen, spokesman for the Joint Rescue Coordination for southern Norway, said 11 Norwegian nationals, one British citizen and one Italian were aboard the helicopter.

A distress signal had been registered at 12:01 pm (1001 GMT), triggering the search and rescue operation, Bang Andersen said.

The helicopter was operated by the firm CHC Helicopter Service, which said it was committed to find out what caused the accident.

Witness Jon Sekkingstad told NRK he heard a loud bang, and saw the main rotor blade fly off the helicopter and trigger an explosion when it hit the ground.

The Norwegian defence forces deployed three vessels and four divers to the crash site. The airspace there had been closed for non-authorized aircraft, including drones, local police said.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.