After CHC on Saturday announced it would ground all of its helicopters within the UK, as a response to the AS332-L2 Super Puma helicopter crash which occurred Friday, off Shetland, the company last nigh revealed that some of its helicopters might start flying Monday after all.
“We believe that engineering and operating differences associated with AS332L/L1 and EC225 aircraft warrant continuing flights with those aircraft. Nonetheless, we canceled all of our Sunday (Aug. 25) flights on those aircraft types (except for those involved in life-saving search-and-rescue and medevac missions) in order to give us time to take stock of any implications associated with Friday’s accident, which involved an AS332L2 aircraft,” said CHC last night in a press release.
To remind, a CHC Helicopter AS332-L2 aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at 18.30 BST (17.30 UTC/GMT) on Friday, August 23, when contact was lost with air traffic control.
The helicopter crashed into the water, approximately two nautical miles west of Sumburgh. It had travelled from Aberdeen to the North Alwyn platform and then on to the Borgsten Dolphin before heading toward Sumburgh. Eighteen people were on board the helicopter at the time of the incident. 16 passengers and two crew. Four people died.
CHC said that the cause of the accident is not yet identified and a full investigation is being carried out in conjunction with the U.K. Air Accident Investigation Branch.
The company’s AS332L/L1 and EC225 helicopters are expected to start flying today.
“We will continue to hold all flights worldwide involving AS332L2 aircraft, except for those involved in life-saving SAR and medevac missions. In the U.K., consistent with a request by the Helicopter Safety Steering Group and until further notice, we will not fly AS332Ls/L1s/L2s and EC225s, except for life-saving SAR and medevac missions,” the company concluded.
Learning a lesson
In a separate statement Oil & Gas UK’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Webb said:
“All offshore helicopter pilots undergo extensive training to prepare them for emergency situations and all passengers undergo regular helicopter evacuation training. This incident serves to emphasise the critical importance of such preparation and training.
“Helicopter safety remains a focus for the oil and gas industry, with the Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) now an established part of the Step Change in Safety organisation. Oil & Gas UK awaits more information on this incident and, through the HSSG, will ensure any learning from this is shared across the industry.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff, August 26, 2013