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Airbus ‘fully responsible’ for Norway Super Puma accident

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell
Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell

A union boss said today that helicopter maker Airbus was “fully responsible” for a fatal Super Puma crash in 2016.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said an investigation showed the aircraft should not be reinstated in the North Sea.

He was speaking after Norwegian investigators published their findings on the crash near Bergen in 2016, which resulted in 13 deaths.

The report authors said the rotor broke off due to a “fatigue fracture” in a “second stage planet gear” in the main rotor gearbox.

They said most of the gears end up getting scrapped early, but that Airbus failed to routinely examine the parts to find out why.

Airbus said it could not have prevented the accident.

The French firm said “neither aviation authorities nor industry” had ever seen the type of crack in the main gear box that led to the incident near Bergen in April 2016.

A Super Puma crash off Peterhead in 2009, which resulted in 16 deaths, was caused by a fault with the same component.

But that accident was “not fully understood” because a vital section of the gear was not found, Accident Investigation Board Norway said.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “We welcome this extremely important and thorough report by Norway’s Accident Investigation Board.

“It confirms what we have always known which is that Airbus are fully responsible for this fatal accident and the report’s findings will reinforce the stand being taken by offshore workers that the North Sea must remain Super Puma free.”

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