Helicopter carrying 18 people ditches in the UK North Sea

8/23/2013

Helicopter carrying 18 people ditches in the UK North Sea

BY BEN WINKLEY

LONDON--A helicopter carrying 18 people has ditched into the North Sea west of Shetland, the operator CHC Helicopter said Friday. CHC Helicopter confirmed that an L2 aircraft landed in the water, approximately two miles west of Sumburgh.

"The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh airport at approximately 6:20 p.m. when contact was lost with air traffic control," the company said in a statement. "We can confirm there were 16 passengers on board, and two crew. The Maritime Coastguard Helicopter from Sumburgh is on the scene, along with other rescue services."

The ditching happened just one month after the return to service of Eurocopter Super Pumas, used to support offshore oil and gas platforms. Some 80 aircraft were barred from flying over water after the second of the two incidents traced to gearbox problems.

In that incident, an aircraft also operated by CHC ditched into the North Sea in October 2012 on the way to a rig operated on behalf of French oil company Total. All 19 people who were aboard the aircraft were rescued.

A report by the Air Accident Investigation Board into a crash in May 2012, involving a Super Puma operated by Bond Helicopters, concluded that the crew had been given a false warning of system failure. It recommended that Eurocopter, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., review the design of the main gearbox emergency lubrication system.

Eurocopter said July 22 that the European Aviation Safety Agency had validated its safety measures and operational restrictions were lifted by both the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway.

Dow Jones Newswires

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