North sea ditch helicopter operator to resume normal flying next week

 

The operator of a helicopter which ditched in the North Sea last week with 14 people on board is to resume normal flying in the next 24 hours.

Bond Offshore Helicopters said its decision followed an inspection of its entire fleet and a safety risk assessment of all aspects of the operation.

The company halted all flights on the EC225 while investigations took place, after 12 passengers and two crew had to be rescued about 25 miles off the coast of Aberdeen on Thursday.

An initial Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) examination of the Super Puma helicopter showed that its gearbox shaft had cracked.

Bond said: "The full fleet of helicopters will return to service over the next 24 hours."

Bill Munro, the company's managing director, said: "Bond puts safety first, above commercial considerations.

"We have now completed a rigorous engineering analysis and safety risk assessment of all aspects of the operation that included as part of this process an inspection of the entire fleet.

"These actions, in addition to working closely with the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the information and the assurances received from Eurocopter as the gearbox manufacturer, have allowed us to return the fleet to service.

"As a result of our detailed inspections, we are confident that there is no linkage between the gearbox-related incidents that Bond Helicopters have experienced, the causes of which have been proven to be beyond our control."

It has also emerged that the same helicopter had an engine malfunction less than a month ago. The EC225 was returning from BP's Harding Field, carrying 15 passengers, when one of its two engines failed on approach to Aberdeen airport.

No-one was hurt and the aircraft landed safely.

Bond said it was looking into the cause of the failure, along with the engine's manufacturer Turbomeca, but the company said the incident on April 19 was not linked to last week's ditching.

In a statement, Bond said: "At 2.56pm on Thursday April 19, an EC225 Super Puma helicopter G-REDW was returning from the BP Harding Field in the North Sea when one of the two engines malfunctioned.

"The helicopter was on its final approach to Aberdeen airport with 15 passengers on board. The pilot and co-pilot immediately instigated standard company procedures and made a procedural normal landing at approximately 3.01pm without incident.

"Having landed safely, the aircraft taxied to the Bond terminal where passengers were offloaded normally.

"Bond Offshore Helicopters are investigating the cause of the incident with Turbomeca, the engine manufacturers.

"All the appropriate authorities are being informed as laid down in the company's standard operating procedures."

Gearbox failure was responsible for the downing of an AS332L2 Super Puma helicopter flying to Aberdeen from the Miller Platform in the North Sea in April 2009, causing the deaths of 16 people.

In a report, the AAIB said the gearbox of the Eurocopter had suffered "catastrophic failure" when it crashed into the sea.

Last night union officials said some oil workers no longer wished to fly to offshore platforms using helicopters.

Following a meeting of the helicopter safety steering group in Aberdeen yesterday, RMT offshore organiser Jake Molloy said: "As regards flying, we have had a number of calls from members saying that's it for them, they won't be going back and that tends to happen after any major helicopter incident."

Bond said it will continue to work with helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter to find a permanent solution to the "issues that have challenged the industry with regard to the Eurocopter EC225".

It said further tests will be carried out on the aircraft to ensure safe flying.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore