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Super Puma that killed sixteen in accident “fell like a torpedo”

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

An accident inquiry has been launched after sixteen men died in a helicopter crash in the North Sea. One eyewitness of the accident said that the Super Puma helicopter “fell like a torpedo” through the sky, with the rotor blades coming down several seconds after the fuselage of the helicopter. The crash occurred in 2009, but many family members are still awaiting answers.

The Bond Super Puma came down just off Peterhead and all fourteen passengers and two crewmembers lost their lives. Immediately after the accident a rescue boat was launched to the scene, by which point eight bodies were already found floating in the water. The inquiry heard that a fault in the main gearbox of the helicopter had been detected eight days prior to the crash. It was arranged that this should be replaced, but wasn’t. The hearing uncovered that this was found to be the reason behind the fatal accident. Working with faulty equipment is a serious form of employer negligence.

‘A long, long five years’

The inquiry, which is taking place in the Aberdeen Town House, is expected to take up to six weeks. An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report blamed the gearbox failure for the crash, arguing that there was explicit evidence. A police investigation had come to an end with the Crown Office deciding that there was too little evidence for any prosecutions. This decision was not popular with the families of the crash victims, with one mother saying:

“It has been a long, long five years. The suffering is exceptional, the families should not have had to wait this long.”

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