UK investigators probing a crash by a Super Puma helicopter into the North Sea said on Thursday they had so far found no evidence of “technical failure”.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said in an interim report about the August 23 crash – in which four North Sea oil workers died – that both of the helicopter’s engines were working before it hit the sea while approaching Sumburgh airport in the Shetland Islands.
The AAIB is continuing to analyse data obtained from the AS332 L2 Super Puma, which was made by Eurocopter, part of EADS.
“To date, no evidence of a causal technical failure has been identified; however detailed examination of the [flight data recorder] and the helicopter wreckage is continuing,” said the AAIB.
CHC Helicopter, the operator of the Super Puma helicopter, said it remained “deeply saddened by the tragic Aug 23 accident”. “Our thoughts and prayers are with victims and their loved ones,” said the company.
CHC noted how the AAIB report said available information indicated the accident was not the result of a technical issue, adding: “This further supports endorsement of the airworthiness of the AS332 L2 by aviation authorities around the world.”
Last month’s crash was the fifth incident involving a Super Puma helicopter in the North Sea since 2009, and triggered a suspension of all UK flights by the aircraft.
However, the Civil Aviation Authority lifted the suspension on August 30 after saying it did not believe the accident was caused by a technical problem. Eurocopter has insisted its Super Puma helicopters are safe to fly.