Heartbroken relatives of the oil workers who died in the helicopter crash have spoken of their grief in the aftermath of the accident.

Four people lost their lives in Friday’s tragedy – Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire.

As they came to terms with their devastating loss, Ms Darnley’s family called for Super Puma helicopters to be grounded permanently.

The tragic oil worker’s mother, Anne Darnley, said: “The things are past their sell-by date. It’s a bad reflection on the industry that they’re still in use.”

Relatives of Ms Darnley, who is the first woman to die in a North Sea disaster and whose body was recovered from the wreckage only yesterday, spoke of a “free spirit” who loved her job on the rigs.

Mrs Darnley, 73, a former nurse at Elgin Health Centre, said: “Sarah had no ties, no bounds. She was never married and didn’t have children.

“She enjoyed life to the full – and I’m glad that she did. She was a free spirit and a very happy girl. I can’t believe what’s happened.”

The family said Ms Darnley began her career with supermarket chain Asda but had gone on to work offshore.

She was employed as a supervisor by Sodexo UK Remote Sites, a company that supplies stewarding services.

The former Elgin High and New Elgin Primary pupil spent a lengthy period on a rig off the Turkish coast.

Since moving back to Scotland, she had worked on several North Sea rigs and only recently began on the Borgsten Dolphin.

Bouquets of flowers filled the kitchen of Mrs Darnley’s house in New Elgin Road that she shares with her husband, Edmund, and where the couple brought up Sarah and her sister, Angela, 44.

Mr Darnley, 81, said: “Sarah loved her job. She loved the camaraderie.”

Sodexo UK Remote Sites boss also paid tribute yesterday to Ms Darnley, who had worked for the company for more than a decade.

Managing director Ian Russell said: “We’re devastated by the loss of Sarah. She was a valued and respected Sodexo employee, with us since 2002.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to Sarah’s family at this very difficult time. Indeed, our thoughts are with all the families who are affected by this accident.

“The health and safety of our people is our greatest responsibility and concern.”

Duncan Munro, of Bishop Aukland, George Allison from Winchester and Inverness man Gary McCrossan all lost their lives in the Super Puma crash

Another Sodexo employee who was on the aircraft survived the accident and was treated in hospital at Lerwick following the incident.

Gary McCrossan’s family was too upset to speak at his home in Westhill, Inverness, but colleagues paid tribute to a “happy-go-lucky” man.

Mike Mann, senior vice-president of his employer, Stork Technical Services, said: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Gary’s family and to all of those affected by this tragedy. We are doing all we can to assist the family at this difficult time.”

Friend and colleague Duncan MacDonald worked with Mr McCrossan for more than a decade as an offshore welder.

He said: “He was a happy-go-lucky boy, very pleasant. I really got a shock when I heard it was him. I’ve worked with him on and off for about 12 or 13 years.”

Mr MacDonald, 50, of North Kessock, said the incident would be very much on his mind when he flew back offshore today. He said: “When I fly up to Shetland in the morning and get a chopper going out, I’m going to be nervous getting on it. You get trained but it’s just the bare minimum.

“I just wonder if the helicopters are getting maintained enough.

“They are continually flying.”

Meanwhile, Duncan Munro’s family said he would be sadly missed.

“Duncan was a fabulous father to Katy, aged 12 years, and a devoted husband to Penny. He was a loving brother and a good friend and colleague to many,” they said.

“He will be missed by everyone that knew him. His death will leave a large void in a lot of people’s lives.”