The Air Accidents Investigation Branch recently published a report which stated that an indication of a fault that led to the helicopter crash had not been recognised just a week before the crash.
Sadly all 14 passengers and two crew members died when the Bond Super Puma helicopter crashed just outside Peterhead. The report stated that there was a “catastrophic failure” of the main rotor gearbox as a result of fatigue fracture.
The report said that a magnetic particle had been found on the chip detector in the gearbox just one week before the crash. However nobody recognised that it was an indication of the degradation of a part of the gearbox. The AAIB said that “The use of verbal and email communication between the operator and manufacturer led to a misunderstanding or miscommunication of the issue”.
Sadly the gear failed a few days later due to a fatigue crack. The main rotor separated from the fuselage and caused the helicopter to crash into the sea.
The managing director of the company who owned the helicopters said “The manufacturer’s procedures have been strengthened and Bond, along with the others in the industry, implemented those changes immediately”. He added “We take a rigorous approach to safety and will continue to do so as technology and best practice evolve. Our company will also implement any further actions required by the industry which are issued by the authorities and manufacturer as a result of the report”.
The ex-wife of one of the victims is calling for a fatal accident inquiry.