Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Vow over helicopter crash probe

A helicopter crash which killed four people will be "painstakingly investigated" to find out what went wrong, a senior executive of the aircraft operator has promised.

Duncan Trapp, vice president for safety and quality at CHC Helicopter, said the company will work with authorities and give its full co-operation following the Super Puma crash in the North Sea on Friday night. He also revealed the two pilots are recovering from their injuries and pledged to do "everything humanly possible" to ensure workers can travel safely.

"Together, the regulators, authorities, aircraft manufacturer, CHC and other experts will painstakingly investigate the incident to determine - and learn the lessons of - what went wrong," he said in a statement.

"The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will be reviewing information including debriefs with pilots and passengers, air traffic records, technical data and records, and the aircraft and its on-board systems.

"We are fully supporting the early stages of the investigation into the incident and will continue to give our full co-operation to this process. We have been keeping our customers informed and working with them to see how we can meet their needs. Our experienced teams have been working tirelessly to support the passengers and our crewmen and their families in the immediate aftermath."

The statement was released as key offshore industry operators and contractors met in Aberdeen to discuss contingency plans following the suspension of Super Puma flights to and from UK installations. The helicopters account for about half of the available seats used to transfer platform workers.

The meeting was called to consider the use of alternative helicopters, how to make better use of available flights and the possibility of transferring workers by boat to ensure offshore production is not affected.

The Super Puma was carrying 16 passengers and two crew from the Borgsten Dolphin platform when it crashed into the sea as it approached Sumburgh airport off the southern tip of Shetland, killing three men and one woman. Rescuers recovered three bodies in the aftermath of the incident and the fourth was removed from the wreckage yesterday. The fourth body is expected to reach the mainland on Tuesday.

The victims were named as Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham; George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Hampshire; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Moray; and 59-year-old Gary McCrossan, from Inverness.

Mr Trapp said the pilots are recovering from their injuries. He said: "Our co-pilot is now recovering at home and our pilot is recovering in hospital. He is in a stable and more comfortable condition today but has suffered back injuries. We have been to see them in a pastoral capacity to ensure they have the best care and medical attention. They will only speak with the relevant authorities and CHC officials when it is appropriate to do so."


From Belfast Telegraph