Oil and gas operators, regulators and offshore trade unions met earlier this week to discuss the recent helicopter ditching incident in the North Sea.
The accident on Monday involved a CHC Super Puma helicopter making a “controlled ditching” between Orkney and Shetland whilst transporting workers from Aberdeen to a drilling rig. It was the fourth accident involving a Super Puma helicopter in just over three years, with one of the aircrafts forced to ditch earlier this year.
The Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) shared information from North Sea helicopter operators and CHC provided the group with background information and its decision to hold all flights using the Super Puma aircrafts.
Les Linklater, Team Leader at Step Change in Safety said: “Aviation is the most heavily regulated form of transport in the world and as a result it is one of the safest. The HSSG is guided by the technical expertise of regulators and helicopter operators and therefore fully supports their precautionary decision to suspend flights – despite not being required to by the regulators – until reassurance can be provided.
“The safety of our workforce is paramount and we need to be satisfied that those who travel to their place of work by helicopter, do so safely and return home again safely. The HSSG will continue to work to widely share throughout industry any learning from this incident, as well as continue our long-term work to improve helicopter safety.”
Nineteen people were in the helicopter and were all rescued safely.