Information on the Eurocopter accident on April 29 2016
An Eurocopter EC225LP crashed west of Bergen on April 29. All 11 passengers and 2 crew members lost their lives in the accident, which is the first fatal accident in Norwegian offshore operations since 1997. The helicopter, registration LN-OJF, was operated by CHC.
Good safety records
This sector within Norwegian aviation has had very good safety records over the last decade. As mentioned it is 19 years since we saw the last fatal accident within this sector in Norway. In the same period the activity has shown a considerable growth, even if the downturn within the oil industry has seen the activity decrease during the last year.
Offshore helicopter operations are demanding and risky operations which demand a lot from all parties involved. Over time a close cooperation between labour unions, oil companies, helicopter operators and the authorities has been developed to maintain and further increase safety within the offshore helicopter section. Regardless of this, the authorities follow the sector closely through technical and operational oversight, as well as well as the offshore platforms with helicopter landing facilities.
The helicopter type
The EC225LP (Super Puma) is a common helicopter type in use on the Norwegian continental shelf. The type can transport a maximum of 19 passengers and two pilots. In 2012 there were to emergency landings with the same type in the British sector and investigations showed that this was related to the helicopter´s gearbox. This resulted in more frequent controls of the helicopters, as well as technical and operational limits were introduced. In the aftermath the affected components were exchanged with a new type and the limits were lifted.
The aircraft involved in this accident were registered on 13 August 2009, and exchanged gear box on 17 January 2016 and its rotor head on 27 March 2016.
The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority has today, following the accident, decided to implement a mandatory safety directive stating that all operators of Airbus EC225LP no longer can conduct any public transport or commercial air transport with aircraft of type EC225LP.
The legal basis for the safety directive is the Aviation Act paragraph 4-1 and stands until further notice.