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Super Puma Inquiry Concludes Helicopter Crash ‘Could Have Been Prevented’

Failures Identified Regarding Actions Of Aircraft Operator


The inquiry held into a fatal Super Puma helicopter crash in the North Sea in 2009 has concluded that the tragedy could have been prevented.

Following a six-week inquiry held earlier this year, Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle outlined several failures he believed the helicopter operator Bond could have avoided which might have prevented the accident in April 2009.

A total of 16 people were killed in the incident, which was caused by a gearbox failure.

These included failing to perform a maintenance task following the discovery of metal particle on the aircraft’s epicyclic chip detector in March 2009 and a failure to ensure communications with manufacturer Eurocopter were undertaken in accordance with procedures, which led to misunderstandings on the issue.

Bond also failed to identify the nature of the substance of the metal particle.

Pyle added: “The cause of the accident which resulted in said deaths was the catastrophic failure of the main rotor gearbox of the said helicopter on the said date, which was as a result of a fatigue fracture of a second stage planet gear in the epicyclic module and which caused the helicopter to descend into the sea.”

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s specialist aviation law team, represents victims of offshore helicopter tragedies including the fatal Super Puma crash in August last year and the North Sea ditching of a Eurocopter helicopter in October 2012.

He is also assisting Irwin Mitchell Scotland in its continuing work on behalf of injured victims and the families of those killed in the Clutha helicopter crash in Glasgow in November last year.


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