North Sea helicopter safety report ‘will be out in January’

A Super Puma EC225 operated by CHC Scotia.
A Super Puma EC225 operated by CHC Scotia.

The findings of an inquiry into helicopter safety in the North Sea oil and gas industry are due to be published within weeks.

North-east MPs have been told the Civil Aviation Authority probe into the safety issues will be made public early in January.

The investigation was launched in September and is being carried out in conjunction with Norwegian and European Union regulators.

It is examining concerns surrounding the five North Sea ditchings in the last four years, including the crash off Shetland in August, in which four people died.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is currently carrying out a separate inquiry into the SuperPuma incident in August, while other investigations are being led by offshore firms themselves, and another by the transport select committee at Westminster.

The CAA’s publication date emerged during talks in London yesterday between UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Scottish Secretary and Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, Gordon MP Sir Malcolm Bruce and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Sir Robert Smith.

Last night, Sir Malcolm said: “We did impress upon him that we need these things to come together sooner rather than later.”

Sir Robert said: “Obviously we will have to wait to see what it finds out, but it’s a very important step to see if there are lessons that need to be learned.”