North Sea helicopter crash survivors seek £5m payout

SURVIVORS of a North Sea helicopter crash in which four people were killed are seeking compensation of over £5 million.
A Super Puma helicopter similar to the one that ditched into the North Sea. Picture: Wiki CommonsA Super Puma helicopter similar to the one that ditched into the North Sea. Picture: Wiki Commons
A Super Puma helicopter similar to the one that ditched into the North Sea. Picture: Wiki Commons

Nine passengers on the helicopter which went down off the coast of Shetland are each taking legal action against the aircraft operator claiming their lives have been destroyed by the crash.

Three men and a woman lost their lives when the AS332-L2 aircraft plunged into the water short of the runway at Sumburgh Airport.

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Lawyers acting on behalf of the survivors said their claim is being raised for “emotional, physical and financial losses” suffered by the workers.

Lisa Gregory, partner at legal firm Digby Brown in Aberdeen, who is representing the group, said: “It has been the most horrific experience and we can’t imagine how it is going to affect them for the rest of their lives.

“For justice to be done, they have to be compensated for all of the emotional, physical and financial losses they have suffered.

“These men were just going to work when their lives and the lives of their families were destroyed by this crash.”

Mrs Gregory said the crash had impacted heavily on the lives of her clients, leaving them with various forms of psychological trauma - including flashbacks.

The aircraft was on its approach to Sumburgh Airport with 16 passengers and two crew when tragedy struck on August 23, 2013.

The chopper had collected passengers from the Dunbar platform, the Borgsten Dolphin rig and the Alwyn North platform before heading to refuel.

However it lost speed suddenly and ditched into the sea around 1.5 nautical miles from the runway

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Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, George Allison, 57, from Winchester and Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, all died in the accident.

Aircraft operator CHC Helicopter said yesterday that it “deeply regretted” the loss of life and that it had paid out more than £500,000 in interim insurance payments to those affected by the crash.

The company said a large number of insurance claims had been resolved but that it had not received all medical reports required.

A spokeswoman for CHC said: “Throughout the period of investigation, there has been much work undertaken to provide financial assistance to the families impacted by the accident.

“For those that have brought claims, the process of assessing and quantifying them has been a difficult one for all involved, but considerable progress has been made and a large number of claims have already been resolved.

“Regrettably, a few claims remain unresolved as the insurer awaits the results of professional assessments, such as medical exams.

“Whilst this is disappointing, CHC and its insurers are keen to receive these assessments so the process can move forward and these few outstanding claims can be resolved.

“In the meantime, a significant sum of money – now in excess of £500,000 – has already been paid on an interim basis and to alleviate any potential hardship.

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“It is the company’s sincere desire to resolve the remaining outstanding claims as quickly as possible.”

An investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is still ongoing.

Rescuers found the stricken Super Puma upside down in the water with the passengers and crew scattered around it in the icy waters.

They were plucked to safety by emergency services.

The incident was the fifth helicopter ditching in the North Sea in five years.