NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Super Puma accident inquiry ends

All 16 helicopter crash victims
Image caption All 16 men on board the Super Puma died

A fatal accident inquiry into the 2009 Super Puma crash in the North Sea in which 16 men died has ended.

Tom Marshall, the lawyer representing the families, used his final submission to criticise the investigation into the crash.

During the inquiry it emerged witnesses from Eurocopter were not interviewed until after the Crown Office decided not to proceed with prosecutions.

Mr Marshall said the families found this "incomprehensible".

Speaking outside the inquiry, Audrey Wood, whose son was killed in the crash, said: "This has been the most horrific traumatic five years of strung-out emotional upsets for all 16 families and friends".

The cause of the crash had previously been identified as a gearbox failure, but during the course of the inquiry details emerged of helicopter engineers failing to follow maintenance manuals.

Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle pledged to try and deliver his determination in four weeks time.

Eight of the victims came from the north east of Scotland, seven from the rest of the UK, and one from Latvia.

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.

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