Calls for public inquiry into North Sea helicopter crashes

Calls for the Government to launch a full public inquiry into helicopter safety were renewed this week by offshore union RMT. It coincides with the Fatal Accident Investigation into the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Calls for the Government to launch a full public inquiry into helicopter safety were renewed this week by offshore union RMT.

It coincides with the Fatal Accident Investigation into the deadly 2009 North Sea helicopter crash which opened on Monday in Aberdeen.

On 1st April 2009 a Super Puma helicopter plummeted into the sea, killing 14 oil workers and two crew members on their way back to shore from a BP oil platform.

A handful of other incidents involving the helicopter has occurred since 2009, one leading to four fatalities in August 2013.

Bob Crow, General Secretary at the transport and offshore union RMT said the FAI process “has been proven to be far too slow”.

He said: “The families and colleagues of all those whose lives have been impacted by the helicopter safety issue have waited far too long for justice. Unfortunately, The FAI cannot deliver that justice.”

Two separate investigations are conducted into offshore helicopter safety in the North Sea by the independent regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We will await the outcome of both the review and AAIB investigation before drawing any conclusions.”

Between 1976 and 2012, there were 72 helicopter accidents, with 12 fatalities in the UK according to the Civil Aviation Authority. The number of accidents dropped from a high of roughly five per year in the 1980s but rose marginally at the turn of the decade.