Helicopter in Brazil rig incident had complied with updated safety checks

The offshore helicopter involved in an emergency rig landing in Brazil had been subject to numerous safety checks invoked in light of other recent incidents.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued two airworthiness directives earlier this year after a Sikorsky S92 took chunks out of a North Sea helideck during landing.

The helicopter manufacturer grounded all S92 aircraft worldwide following the West Franklin incident in December. The aircraft left “significant gouge marks” on the deck.

Safety checks issued by EASA involved the checking of bearings following a reported failure.

The fleet was allowed to return to service once the mandatory checks had been carried out.

CHC has now confirmed that all the required safety checks had been carried out across its fleet, including the helicopter involved in Saturday’s emergency landing on the SS-86 Sevan Brazil drilling rig, off the east coast of South America.

A spokesman for the firm said: “CHC complied fully, across its global fleet, with all airworthiness directives and alert service bulletins and continues its regular maintenance activities.”

Brazilian oil firm Petrobras confirmed earlier this week that the S92 that collided with the SS-86 drilling platform has now been cleared from the flight deck.

Footage taken from the helideck shows the offshore chopper coming in to land when the tail rotor clips what appears to be a nearby mast.

The impact shears off the rear stabilising wing on the tail rotor before the aircraft drops to the helideck.

The helicopter was carrying 18 passengers and 3 crew members at the time.

Investigations into the incident, in the Santos Basin, are ongoing.

Photos of what is believed to be the same incident, posted on an online pilots’ forum, show the aftermath of the incident.

Damage can be seen on the tail rotor and on the left pontoon.

The S92 helicopter became the mainstay of the North Sea fleet after the UK-wide grounding of the Super Puma fleet last year.

The flight ban came into effect after a fatal helicopter crash off Norway in April, in which 13 people died, including Iain Stuart, 41, of Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

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