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Fatal Accident Inquiry into North Sea Helicopter Accident begins.

A fatal accident Inquiry has begun at Aberdeen Sheriff Court into a North Sea helicopter crash. The fatal crash in April 2009 claimed the lives of all 16 men on board. Various individuals are to be called to give evidence over an estimated period of 6 weeks. Those to be called to give evidence include engineers on shift the day prior to the crash and a former engineering director at Bond.

In terms of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1975 a fatal accident inquiry is required whenever a death or deaths occur during the course of employment. The Sheriff’s determination in respect of the inquiry is restricted to the following;

  1. Where and when the death occurred
  2. The cause of death
  3. Any precautions by which the death might have been avoided.
  4. Any defects in systems that caused or contributed to the death.

And where the Sheriff believes it to be appropriate to comment on:

There is no award of damages following on from a fatal accident inquiry although often evidence produced at the inquiry can be useful in a civil claim.

This particular inquiry is even more poignant considering that 6 weeks prior to the accident another Super Puma helicopter required to ditch in the North Sea on its way to a BP oil rig. These incidents and others in recent times have brought calls to review the safety of all helicopters used in the North Sea. Findings from an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report have already indicated that the crash was caused by catastrophic failure of the main rotor gearbox.  

The Crown Office have stated that no criminal proceedings will be pursued in relation to the incident.

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