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No stone will be left unturned in helicopter accident investigation
A HELICOPTER crash which killed a Hampshire man and three others will be “painstakingly investigated” to find out what went wrong, according to the aircraft operators.
Super Puma flights to and from UK offshore installations were suspended in the wake of Friday night’s crash in which four people were killed, including 57-year-old George Allison from Winchester.
Duncan Trapp, vice president for safety and quality at operator CHC Helicopter, said the company will work with authorities and give its full co-operation following the Super Puma crash in the North Sea.
It came as an emergency meeting of key offshore operators was held in Aberdeen yesterday to discuss contingency plans.
Mr Allison was a director and safety training specialist for engineering consultancy Rangefox, which he ran from his home in Francis Gardens, Abbotts Barton.
The 57-year-old had been working at the Offshore Dunbar Platform as a project safety supervisor for just over a year.
He was overseeing conversion work at the platform and at a drilling support vessel.
Mr Trapp also revealed that the two pilots are recovering from their injuries and pledged to do “ everything humanly possible” to ensure workers can travel safely.
“Together, the regulators, authorities, aircraft manufacturer, CHC and other experts will painstakingly investigate the incident to determine – and learn the lessons of – what went wrong,” he said in a statement.
Hundreds of workers are flown to and from oil platforms every day and there are concerns that the grounding of the Super Puma will cause a backlog of workers waiting to go on and offshore.
The helicopters account for about half of the available seats used to transfer platform workers to and from the UK offshore installations.
The meeting of operators and major contractors was expected to look into the use of alternative helicopters, how to make better use of available flights and the possibility of transferring workers by boat to ensure offshore production is not affected.
Organised by industry body Oil and Gas UK, it was held hours after the bodies of three of the oil workers were brought back to the city’s harbour.
It is understood the fourth body will arrive today.
Senior management staff from the helicopter’s manufacturer, Eurocopter, part of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, travelled to Aberdeen.
Eurocopter chief executive Guillaume Faury said: “We all at Eurocopter are deeply saddened by this accident.
“This is a tragedy for all of us.
“We express our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected, including the workforce in the North Sea.”
It is not yet known what caused the CHC-operated helicopter to crash into the sea as it approached Sumburgh airport on the southern tip of the Shetlands’ main island.
It is hoped that information from the helicopter’s black box recorder will help establish the cause of the crash.
The Super Puma was carrying 16 passengers and two crew from the Borgsten Dolphin platform when it crashed into the sea off Shetland on Friday evening, killing three men and one woman.
The other victims were named as Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland,County Durham; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Moray; and 59- year-old Gary McCrossan, from Inverness.
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