G-REDW ditching incident
At 12.13pm on 10 May 2012, a Eurocopter EC225 helicopter (registration G-REDW) outbound from Aberdeen going to the Ensco102 Maersk Resilient platform made a controlled descent 24 nautical miles offshore.
The Captain and Co-pilot made the controlled descent and landed on the sea following standard operating procedures after the helicopter suffered a loss of gearbox oil pressure. The aircraft remained afloat and upright and the 12 passengers and 2 crew-members were safely recovered and returned to Aberdeen later that day.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun its investigation into the incident. This has identified a 360° circumferential crack in the bevel gear vertical shaft in the main gearbox, in the vicinity of a manufacturing weld, causing disengagement of the drive to both mechanical oil pumps.
The HSSG held a special meeting on Monday 14 May 2012 to share preliminary information and identify any potential early lessons. Making up the HSSG are helicopter operators, oil and gas operators and contractors, offshore trade unions, the pilots’ union BALPA, the regulators HSE and CAA and Oil & Gas UK.
The group awaits more information on this incident and will ensure any learning from this is shared across the industry. After the two helicopter accidents in 2009, Oil & Gas UK produced a 30-minute video which sought to address the workforce's concerns about flying. You can view 'Commuting by Air' here on the Step Change website.
G-CHCN ditching on 22 October 2012
Initial findings from the ongoing investigation into a more recent ditching - G-CHCN on 22 October - have revealed similarities with this incident. The investigations into both incidents have now been combined into a single enquiry.
The three main UK offshore helicopter operators, CHC, Bond and Bristow, took an aligned decision to impose a precautionary, temporary self-imposed suspension on all Super Puma aircraft. As of Friday 26 October 2012, certain AS332L, L1 and L2 variants returned to service but the EC225 model remains suspended for the time being.
More information on G-REDW
Below, you can find information on this incident which has been issued by the helicopter operators and other relevant authorities.
10 May 2012 Bond statement one doc
10 May 2012 Bond statement two doc Bond G-REDW Helicopter Passengers and Crew Reported Safe
10 May 2012 CHC safety alert docx
11 May 2012 Bristow statement doc
11 May 2012 Bond statement three doc Bond Eurocopter EC225 suspension
13 May 2012 Bond statement four doc AAIB report consistent with Bond analysis
13 May 2012 Eurocopter Safety Information Notice pdf
15 May 2012 Bristow statement two doc
15 May 2012 CHC News statement docx
15 May 2012 Bond statement five doc Bond to re-establish flights
18 May 2012 EASA - Emergency Airworthiness Directive
18 May 2012 Bond statement six doc New EASA Airworthiness Directive on the EC225 Super Puma
19 May 2012 Bristow statement three doc
28 June 2012 EASA - Emergency Airworthiness Directive
13 July 2012 Air Accidents Investigation Branch Special Bulletin S3/2012 Update on progress of AAIB investigation
25 July 2012 Eurocopter statement Eurocopter puts forward their own explanation of AAIB's S3/2012 bulletin
17 October 2012 Air Accidents Investigation Branch Special Bulletin S5/2012 update on lubrication system warning light
25 October 2012 EASA - Emergency Airworthiness Directive
29 October 2012 CAA Safety Directive - prohibiting the use of certain helicopters for offshore transport
2 November 2012 Eurocopter Safety Information Notice
29 November 2012 AAIB Special Bulletin S7/2012
18 March 2013 AAIB Special Bulletin S2/2013
9 May 2013 AAIB Special Bulletin S2/2013