No fatalities were reported after a recent safety incident involving a helicopter that was forced to ditch in the North Sea. There were 19 people on board the helicopter, which crashed into the North Sea while it was on its way from Aberdeen to the West Phoenix semisubmersible. All 19 passengers were rescued, and then taken by helicopter back to Kirkwall.
The incident was confirmed by CHC Helicopter which said that its crews had conducted a controlled ditching in the North Sea. The 19 people included 17 offshore oilfield workers, as well as 2 crewmembers.
The UK’s Helicopter Safety Steering Group meanwhile announced that it supports the decision by helicopter operators to place several Super Puma aircraft under suspension. Several EC 225 Super Puma aircraft were suspended after the ditching incident. However, flights of other Super Puma variants have been reintroduced.
There are also reports that the ditching of the helicopter in the North Sea is linked to a similar incident involving another Super Puma earlier this year. That incident involved a helicopter operated by Bond aviation, and occurred in May.
CHC Helicopter has declared that Super Puma aircraft that come with bevel-gear vertical shafts will continue to fly. However, the other Super Puma helicopters will only fly after their affected components have been replaced.
There seems to have been an increase in the number of safety incidents involving offshore helicopters recently, many of them occurring in the North Sea region. Offshore workers deserve to know that their employers as well as offshore helicopter operators and manufacturers are doing everything possible to ensure safe flights for workers.
The Houston offshore injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent workers injured in offshore oil rig and oilfield accidents.