The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority has grounded all search and rescue flights of the H225 helicopter indefinitely following a fatal accident in Norway in April.
The new restriction applies from June 1 and is in response to the findings of a preliminary report into the April 29 accident. The Airbus H225 (EC225LP) helicopter was en route from the Statoil-operated Gullfaks B platform in the North Sea to Bergen when it went down along the coast near the town of Turøy, killing all 13 people on board.
After the accident, both the UK and Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities suspended the use of all Airbus EC225LP helicopters with the exception of search and rescue flights. A few days later, the ban was extended to include AS332L2 Super Puma helicopters.
The restriction as of June 1 now entails suspending the use of these types of helicopters for search and rescue and medical flights.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority, who has been participating in the investigation with the Norwegian authorities, has not said whether or not it will introduce the new restrictions for search and rescue flights.
Statoil released a statement saying that it has H225 helicopters in use for its SAR emergency at the Oseberg Field Centre, Statfjord B and at Sola. In these areas Statoil is mobilizing the necessary resources to ensure emergency preparedness.
“In addition to one Sikorsky S92 at Sola and one at Flesland that are currently operational for any medical evacuation, we have mobilised two additional stand-by vessels which are on their way to the fields,” Statoil said.
The accident in April was one of the worst accidents in the history of the Norwegian oil industry, and the worst offshore helicopter accident since 2009 when a Super Puma crashed off northern Scotland while returning from a BP platform in the North Sea, killing all 16 people on board.