Westminster helicopter safety inquiry opens for evidence

Wreckage of the helicopter after the August crash which killed four people is buffeted by the surf off the Shetland mainland
Wreckage of the helicopter after the August crash which killed four people is buffeted by the surf off the Shetland mainland

A powerful Westminster select committee has called for evidence on North Sea helicopter safety as it prepares to launch an inquiry.

Transport committee chairwoman Louise Ellman said the frequency of helicopter ditchings offshore was a “major cause for concern”, as she asked for submissions to the probe.

The MPs are due to hold a hearing on the concerns after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) publishes its report on the incidents, expected in January.

Ms Ellman said: “In August, four oil workers were killed in a helicopter crash off the Shetland Isles.

“This was the fifth accident in four years and the second of which that has tragically resulted in fatalities. The frequency of these accidents is a major cause for concern.

“Our inquiry will examine ways to minimise the risk to offshore workers. To this end we hope to hear from workers themselves, oil and gas firms, helicopter manufacturers, operators and pilots.

“We welcome the CAA’s investigation into helicopter safety that they are running with their Norwegian counterparts.

“We intend to hear evidence on their findings when they report and examine how their recommendations should be implemented.”

A deadline for evidence has been set for Friday, December 20.

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