Norway bans helicopter type after fatal crash
The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (Luftfartstilsynet - CAA) has ordered all Super Puma helicopters to be grounded following an April crash near Turøy that killed all 13 people on board.
The ban on the Super Puma will also apply to search and rescue missions.
The helicopter that crashed at Turøy in April was a Super Puma with model designation EC225LP. Shortly after the accident, that helicopter type was grounded by both Norwegian and British aviation authorities. The ban was then extended to include the model’s predecessor, the AS332L2.
Despite the preliminary bans, it had been nevertheless allowed to use these helicopters for search and rescue missions, but on Thursday CAA said it would remove the exemption and impose a total ban on all Super Pumas.
The total ban comes after preliminary findings from the Accident Investigation Board Norway (Statens havarikommisjon) showed that a crack in the gearbox is probably one factor that caused the accident at Turøy.
“It is important to point out that the accident is still under investigation by the Accident Investigation Board and that no final cause of the accident is not yet established. CAA will keep close contact with all helicopter operators offshore and will continue to follow the investigation closely,” the authority said.
Helicopter company CHC, which owned the helicopter that crashed at Turøy, has also decided to suspend all flights with the model EC225.
The EC225 Super Puma that crashed on April 29th was en route to Bergen from a North Sea oil platform. The 13 killed included 11 Norwegians, one Briton and one Italian.
The accident was the deadliest helicopter crash in Norway since 1978.
Older model Super Pumas have also been involved in several accidents in the British oil sector, some of them deadly. The most serious dates back to 2009 when a helicopter crashed off of Scotland, killing its 16 occupants after its rotor detached.