North Sea helicopter grounded after safety fear

A Sikorsky S92 helicopter similar to the model that was grounded after a safety alert. Picture: PA

A Sikorsky S92 helicopter similar to the model that was grounded after a safety alert. Picture: PA

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Another helicopter operating in the North Sea has been grounded following an alert on a drilling rig.

The Sikorsky S92 crew reported an error moments before the aircraft went up in the air on the Stena Don platform.

The helicopter was shut down following the incident on Monday night and a technician was flown out to examine the aircraft.

The technician then decided that the helicopter was not fit to fly until the problem was resolved.

The grounding comes days after all Super Puma flights were suspended from flying following the helicopter crash off the coast of Shetland on Friday night.

Sikorsky S92 aircraft are also used by oil companies to transport offshore workers home.

A spokesman for Statoil, which operates the Stena Don drilling rig, said: “During a crew change on Monday night at 6:30pm, the helicopter displayed an error indication as they stood on the helideck to the Stena Don.

“The drilling rig is located on the Troll Field on the Norwegian Continental shelf.

“The decision was taken to shut down the machine. A technician was flown out and did not allow the helicopter to continue flight.

“Work is going on to investigate why they got an error indication.”

The aircraft was transporting 19 workers to the rig before the incident happened moments before its return to Flesland.

Bristows said the helicopter was shut down as a “precautionary measure”.

A Bristows spokeswoman said: “The crew responded to the illumination of a caution light when the helicopter was about to lift off to return to Flesland.

“The crew followed standard flight safety procedures and an engineering team has since travelled to the installation to complete the fault diagnosis and establish the maintenance actions required to return the aircraft to service.

“Flight safety is Bristow’s first priority: we will always investigate prior to further flight.”

Meanwhile, one of the survivors of last Friday’s Super Puma disaster described how the aircraft suddenly fell out of the sky.

The rig worker, who did not want to be named, said: “On approach to Sumburgh the chopper shook severely from side to side before lurching over to the left and plummeting from the air into the water and went over instantly.

“This all happened in a heartbeat. There was no ‘brace, brace, brace’ or mayday as it was so quick.”

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