NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Airbus eases Super Puma flight warning after Norway crash

scene of Norway crash Image copyright AP
Image caption Police and investigators at the scene of Friday's crash

The maker of the helicopter that crashed in Norway on Friday has lifted its recommendation that the same type of aircraft be grounded worldwide.

Airbus Helicopters said initial evidence suggested no link with two previous incidents in Scotland involving Super Puma H225 helicopters.

The aircraft will remain grounded in the UK, however, as a Civil Aviation Authority flight ban remains in force.

An Aberdeenshire oil worker was among 13 people who died in the Norway crash.

Iain Stuart, from Laurencekirk, was working for the oil field services company Halliburton when the helicopter crashed into a small island west of Bergen.

Regulators in the UK and Norway grounded the aircraft pending an investigation, while Airbus recommended that all commercial flights of the H225 Super Puma be suspended worldwide.

But on Monday, a spokesman for Airbus said commercial flights could resume elsewhere, subject to the decision of each operator.

Image copyright Mihai Crisan
Image caption The Super Puma helicopter which crashed off Norway was the H225 model

In 2012, two Super Puma H225 helicopters, formerly known as the EC225, ditched in the North Sea - one off Aberdeen and another off Shetland - in incidents that were blamed on gearbox problems. All passengers and crew were rescued.

The H225 was grounded worldwide for several months while modifications were introduced.

The following year a different model of Super Puma, the AS332, crashed off Shetland, killing four people.

The most serious crash involving Super Pumas also involved the AS332 model when 16 people died in the North Sea off Peterhead in 2009. The crash was blamed on gearbox failure.

An online petition calling for all H225 Super Puma helicopters to be removed from service following the Norway crash has gathered more than 16,000 signatures.

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