Super Puma fatal accident inquiry: Confusion over gearbox condition

The Super Puma before it crashed The Bond Super Puma came down off Peterhead, killing 16 men

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A fatal accident inquiry into a helicopter crash which killed 16 men has been told of confusion between its operator and manufacturer over the condition of the gearbox.

All those on board the Bond Super Puma died when it came down in April 2009.

Eurocopter specialist Yannick Boyer said he had been told metal particles were found in a different part of the gearbox from where they were later discovered by crash investigators.

He said procedures later changed.

The discussions between Bond and French company Eurocopter took place the week before the Super Puma crashed off Peterhead.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report blamed a catastrophic gearbox failure for the crash.

The two crew who died were Capt Paul Burnham, 31, of Methlick, Aberdeenshire, and co-pilot Richard Menzies, 24, of Droitwich Spa, who worked for Bond Offshore Helicopters.

The KCA Deutag employees killed were Brian Barkley, 30, of Aberdeen; Vernon Elrick, 41, of Aberdeen; Leslie Taylor, 41, of Kintore, Aberdeenshire; Nairn Ferrier, 40, of Dundee; Gareth Hughes, 53, of Angus; David Rae, 63, of Dumfries; Raymond Doyle, 57, of Cumbernauld; James John Edwards, 33, of Liverpool; Nolan Goble, 34, of Norwich, and Mihails Zuravskis, 39, of Latvia.

The other victims were James Costello, 24, of Aberdeen, who was contracted to Production Services Network (PSN); Alex Dallas, 62, of Aberdeen, who worked for Sparrows Offshore Services; Warren Mitchell, 38, of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, who worked for Weatherford UK; and Stuart Wood, 27, of Aberdeen, who worked for Expro North Sea Ltd.

The inquiry continues.

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