Fatal Helicopter Crash in Norway Leaves Thirteen Dead

May 5, 2016
Abram I. Bohrer

Helicopter crash attorneys at the New York aviation law firm Bohrer & Lukeman are monitoring the developments of the April 29 crash off the coast of Norway of an Airbus H225 Super Puma helicopter carrying 11 Norwegians, one Briton and one Italian. The helicopter was transporting the passengers from the Gullfaks B oil field in the North Sea to Bergen, Norway when the helicopter crashed, killing all 13 individuals.

Shocking video emerged of the crash showing the helicopter’s rotor blades becoming detached in midair before the helicopter crashed. The Norwegian Accident Investigation Board quickly ruled that the crash was caused by a mechanical error and ruled out pilot error.

“We are as certain as we can be that a technical error caused the accident. We don’t think it was due to human misinterpretations,” said Kaare Halvorsen, the director of Norway’s Accident Investigation Board.

The panel reported that video of the crash and eye-witness reports helped them make a preliminary judgment that the crash was a result of a sudden mechanical failure, but the exact cause is yet to be determined as the full investigation will take time. Helicopter crash attorney Abram Bohrer, however, was not convinced, and felt that the investigation needed to proceed further before a final cause could be determined. “Human or pilot error still must be further explored here,” added Bohrer.

The Richmond B.C. based company CHC Helicopters was the owner of the aircraft. They offered this written statement to the press:

“We are grateful for the work of the Accident Investigation Board Norway and hope their initial update provides some comfort to the families of those who lost loved ones in last Friday’s tragic accident.”

An official at the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority reported that maintenance of the helicopter was delayed twice last year:

“I can confirm that this specific helicopter had seen its maintenance delayed,” said Hege Aalstad, a senior legal adviser at the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority. “It is correct that there was an application for a so-called travel-time extension.”

“The first [extension] was for a delay of 100 flying hours… and the other was also for 100 flying hours,” he explained.

The Airbus H225 Super Puma is a widely-used helicopter in the oil industry for transporting workers to and from offshore infrastructure.

There were reported problems with this type helicopter in the past. In 2012, issues with the main gearbox were identified but Airbus produced a modification that was approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Due to the crash last week, Norwegian and British air safety regulators imposed a ban on all Airbus H225 passenger flights and EASA officials issued emergency instructions for safety checks of all similar Airbus H225 helicopters before their next flights.

A spokesperson for Airbus said that early evidence suggests that this helicopter crash was not related to the gearbox issue but instead was the result of some other problem.

“We are now assessing the situation and stand ready to fully support the authorities in their investigation,” the spokesperson said.

The helicopter crash lawyers at Bohrer & Lukeman are closely following the case as it develops. The attorneys at Bohrer & Lukeman have experience in general aviation accidents and will conduct their own review of this helicopter crash as the official investigation uncovers new information.