Expert Aviation Lawyers Concerned By Reports Suggesting Technical Fault Led To Norwegian Helicopter Crash

Irwin Mitchell Represents Oil Workers Injured In Previous Super Puma EC225 Crash Caused By Mechanical Problems


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Expert aviation lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell who currently represent 13 passengers who suffered injuries when the Super Puma EC225 that they were travelling in ditched into the North Sea in 2012 have expressed concerns that the latest crash involving the same model of helicopter has been linked to a technical fault.


The latest crash on 29 April near Bergen, Norway claimed the lives of 13 people and initial investigations conducted by Norway’s Accident Investigation Board indicated a technical failure, not human error, caused the crash.


British oil worker Iain Stuart, from Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire, was among those who died after the Super Puma helicopter, which was travelling from the North Sea Gullfaks B oil field to Flesland Airport, crashed into the shoreline near Bergen.


The Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG), an umbrella body of unions representing North Sea oil workers, has called for oil workers not to be forced to fly in the Super Puma helicopters.


Expert aviation lawyers at Irwin Mitchell currently represent victims and the families of those killed in a number of helicopter crashes around the World, including13 men who were rescued from the North Sea after their Super Puma EC225 helicopter ditched into the sea in 2012. An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigation concluded that the helicopter lost main rotor gearbox oil pressure due to a failure of the bevel gear shaft that drives these critical oil pumps.


Additionally, the emergency lubrication system was activated which should have enabled them to fly for 30 minutes and reach the nearest airport. However, the helicopter experienced a warning that this system had failed, which forced the crew to ditch the helicopter into the sea. Airbus has accepted that it is legally liable for the incident.


The specialist lawyers have expressed concerns that this latest incident in Norway involves another Super Puma EC225 model, operated by CHC Helicopters, and that it has been linked to a technical issue.


Jim Morris, a Partner and expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is also one of the team representing the families affected by the Clutha helicopter crash in Glasgow, said:

Expert Opinion
“The reports so far concerning this latest tragic incident involving a Super Puma EC225 indicate an extreme situation arising from a technical fault from which it appears there was little or no chance of survival.

“Of course, we await the final report from the AAIB that will determine the full chain of events that led to this crash, but it is extremely alarming that this model of helicopter has been involved in another very serious accident while transporting oil rig worker following two other serious incidents in recent years.

“Oil rig personnel work in very harsh environments and deserve the highest standards of helicopter safety when being transported to and from work. In this day and age it is unacceptable for a sophisticated twin engine helicopter to suffer a catastrophic problem from which it is not able to land safely.

“In addition to the air accident investigation there should be a thorough and transparent review by the authorities into the safety of helicopters and how they are operated in the North Sea to ensure that safety standards are as high as is reasonably possible.”
Jim Morris, Partner


Bryan Crawford, 36, from Ardrishaig, Argyll, a former oil rig worker who was on board the Super Puma helicopter which ditched in the North Sea in 2012, said: “The latest incident involving this type of helicopter is absolutely tragic. It brings back terrible memories for me and all the other men who were rescued from the North Sea after our helicopter was forced to ditch.


“This latest incident also acts as a reminder that it could have been a lot worse for us although I am still dealing with the psychological impact, which has left me unable to return to work on the rigs.


“Clearly there needs to be a thorough investigation into the safety of the Eurocopter Super Puma EC225 helicopter. This model of helicopter is commonly used to transport oil workers. The recent history of loss of life and injury is tragic and should be ringing alarm bells.”