A Super Puma helicopter returning from offshore Miller Oil Platform crashed in North Sea, 14 miles off the Aberdeenshire coast on April 01. Eight people have been killed and another eight are missing.
On February 18, when another Super Puma helicopter ditched into the sea about 125 miles east of Aberdeen on its way to ETAP oil production platform, all eighteen crew survived and were rescued.
However it is reported that there is no link between both the crashes involving Super Puma in the North Sea. It appears that the helicopter suffered a catastrophic impact as it crashed into the sea on April 01. The earlier accident on February 18, occurred at night in poor weather conditions.
Some of the disturbing features of April 01, accident are:
- Miller Oil Platform is owned by BP and the helicopter is operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters on behalf of BP. No details about the crash are available from Bond operator website.
- The helicopter was carrying oil platform crew who were returning to shore after a two-week stint on board the platform. The crash took place around 1400 hours local time.
- Weather conditions in the area are believed to be good and the temperature in the North Sea is around 5 degree Celsius at this time of year.
- People who travel on these helicopters to and from the oil rigs wear proper immersion suits.
- Rescue operation was launched involving the RAF, RNLI, Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MAC) as well as 11 other vessels in the area. But there is no hope of finding any survivors.
- Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun an inquiry into the incident, with 14 staff working on the case.
- View video clip, map of the crash and search area and read more from BBC News.
February 18, accident:
- Bond Super Puma with 18 people on board ditched in the North Sea while approaching ETAP platform. Everyone survived that accident.
- The helicopter ditched in the sea approximately 500 metres from the ETAP platform owned by BP at about 1915 GMT.
- Flotation bags carried in helicopter’s wheel bays deployed automatically after it hit the sea.
- Passengers and crew scrambled into three life rafts, which were tied together. GPS signals from locator beacons worn by all on board were picked up by satellite.
- Three survivors were picked up by helicopter, others by fast rescue craft.
- A RAF Nimrod aircraft co-ordinated the operation to prevent helicopters colliding in poor visibility.
- Read more from BBC News.
- Read Investigation report of Eurocopter EC225 LP Super Puma from Air Accidents Investigations Branch as pdf.
- View an interesting video clip of the rescue operations.
View video clips:
For details on EC225 Super Puma helicopter, log on to Eurocopter.
Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:
Update: April 06
The wreckage of the crashed Super Puma helicopter in the North Sea has been located. Read more from Sky News.
Update: April 12
The reason for the helicopter accident is reported to be fault in gearbox. View a video clip: Gearbox fault blamed for North Sea helicopter crash.
Update: April 25
The manufacturer of Eurocopter Super Puma helicopter says that more than half the fleet of AS332L2s serving the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry are airborne again after undergoing extensive main gearbox checks. Read more from Flightglobal.
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