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Union officials ‘gravely concerned’ over recent helicopter incidents

Union officials ‘gravely concerned’ over recent helicopter incidents
Offshore union officials expressed "grave concern" yesterday over the safety of workers being transported to oil and gas platforms by Bond helicopters.

Offshore union officials expressed “grave concern” yesterday over the safety of workers being transported to oil and gas platforms by Bond helicopters.

Yesterday’s ditching was the third serious incident involving a Bond helicopter in the North Sea in the last three years.

Union bosses said last night that they had raised a number of concerns with the operator over the safety of their aircraft over the last few weeks.

Jake Molloy, regional organiser for the RMT union, said he had written to Bond at the end of April expressing his fears after he had heard from offshore workers that they had experienced slight engine failure onboard a flight last month.

One of Bond’s EC225 Super Pumas suffered from “engine malfunction” on April 19 this year.

Bond confirmed that one of the two Makila 2A1 engines had malfunctioned while transporting offshore workers from the BP Harding Field in the North Sea. It had 15 passengers on board at the time.

One man on board, who does not want to be named, said he felt like the aircraft was falling out of the sky for around six seconds before the pilot gained control again.

A spokesman for Bond Helicopters said: “Bond Offshore Helicopters are investigating the cause of the incident with Turbomeca the engine manufacturers. All the appropriate authorities are being informed as laid down in the company’s standard operating procedures.”

Mr Molloy said last night: “It is not enough for Bond to say they are looking into the incident. They really need to do everything they can to reassure those they are flying offshore that their company is providing a safe mode of transport.

“Bond have a lot of questions to answer. I wrote to them weeks ago regarding the engine failure on the Super Puma on April 19 this year and I am still waiting on a response.

“They really need to start making everything they do more transparent as we do not want to end up with another disaster like 2009.”

Bosses at the Unite Union said they were “gravely concerned” that there had been recent incidents which had not been reported to the Helicopter Steering Group (HSG).

A spokesman said: “Unite is concerned that there have been problems with helicopter engines recently that have not been reported to the HSG. Obviously the reason for the ditching has to be investigated, but Unite is calling for an urgent meeting of the Helicopter Steering Group to be convened.”

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