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BALPA welcomes findings of North Sea accident inquiry

North-Sea2Helicopter pilots operating around Britain’s shores and represented by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) have welcomed the findings of the fatal accident inquiry into the Super Puma accident off the Aberdeenshire coast on April 1, 2009, and in particular the concentration on the maintenance causes of the accident.

General Secretary of BALPA, Jim McAuslan, said, ‘The hundreds of dedicated helicopter pilots flying in support of Britain’s oil and gas industry welcome the rigorous investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into what caused this tragic incident. Only through this painstaking approach can pilots help ensure this type of accident does not happen again and that every single flight in the North Sea and elsewhere is safe.

“The operator’s maintenance failures which have been drawn out in both the AAIB report and the FAI report are the main lesson for the industry – maintenance must never be treated lightly.

“Sadly, this accident was preventable, but not survivable and the pilots had no chance to save the lives of the passengers due to the mechanical failures.

“Pilots are working with the CAA and operators to improve helicopter safety in the North Sea to ensure recommendations to raise and enforce standards are delivered, particularly as memories of recent accidents fade. We will be pushing the regulator and operators through our membership of the CAA’s Helicopter Safety Review Group to ensure the lessons are learnt.”