Norway bans Airbus Super Puma helicopter from search and rescue missions

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2016 12:32 AM

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's Civil Aviation Authority has extended its ban on the use of Airbus H225 Super Puma Helicopters in Norway to include search and rescue missions, the agency said in a statement on Thursday.

The ban, which includes an older version of the aircraft, follows the discovery of metal fatigue in the gear box of a Super Puma helicopter that crashed in Norway on April 29, killing all 13 people on board.

The Super Pumas, a workhorse of the oil industry, were banned from commercial traffic in Norway and Britain following the accident, but search and rescue missions had still been allowed.

Norwegian oil major Statoil said in a separate statement it would find other ways of operating its emergency services for the Oseberg Field Centre and Statfjord B platforms in the North Sea, as well as at the airport at Sola.

The helicopter that crashed in April was working for the Norwegian firm.

"Statoil is obliged to ensure preparedness in compliance with applicable regulations," the company said. "Statoil is currently mobilizing the necessary resources to safeguard preparedness requirements."

Investigators have ruled out human error, saying the crash was caused by a technical fault.

On Wednesday, the Accident Investigation Board Norway said it had found metallurgical evidence "strongly consistent with fatigue" in a part of the gearbox, while adding it was focusing simultaneously on several different scenarios for the crash.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Richard Pullin)