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A Sikorsky S-92 helicopter hovering

FILE PHOTO: A Sikorsky S-92 helicopter. Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0/Ronnie Robertson

Norway’s Oil Industry Resumes Helicopter Flights After Deadly Crash

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March 1, 2024

By Nerijus Adomaitis and Stine Jacobsen

OSLO, March 1 (Reuters) – Norwegian oil companies resumed helicopter flights to offshore oil and gas fields on Friday following Wednesday’s deadly crash off the country’s west coast, operator Equinor and airports said.

Helicopter traffic was halted to oil and gas platforms on Thursday following the crash in which one person died and five were injured. Norway said it was considering grounding Sikorsky’s S-92A aircraft model while investigating the accident.

“Based on dialog with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), there are no indications that helicopter safety on the Norwegian continental shelf is reduced,” Equinor executive Kjetil Hove said in a statement.

The CAA told Reuters it had not received any information that would lead to it grounding the S-92A at this time.

The helicopter model, made by Lockheed Martin’s LMT.N Sikorsky unit, is the workhorse of Norway’s oil industry, flying almost all workers to and from oilfields.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in an email “we will monitor the investigation and take appropriate action when/if necessary.”

A spokesperson for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it was in touch with relevant authorities.

“The investigation as to the causes of this crash is just commencing … We will take any action that may be needed when more information is available,” the spokesperson said.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority said work was still ongoing to locate the wreckage, which sank to a depth of several hundred meters after crashing into the ocean.

Sikorsky on Wednesday said safety was its top priority and that it was ready to support the investigation. It was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Equinor earlier on Friday said it had concluded long-held talks with manufacturers Bell and Leonardo to buy 15 new helicopters to ensure more flexibility, although the first two aircraft will only arrive next year.

Labour unions had also asked Equinor to diversify its fleet.

One of the injured helicopter crew members remained in a serious but stable condition on Friday. Two others were still receiving treatment for lighter injuries while the remaining two had been discharged, the hospital treating them said.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen, additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Tim Hepher, editing by Terje Solsvik, Elaine Hardcastle and Nia Williams)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2024.

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