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Families criticise length of crash inquiry

The families of the 16 men who died in a helicopter crash in the North Sea in 2009 have criticised the length of the inquiry.

Read: Helicopter operator failures blamed for fatal crash

The wreckage of the crash, that killed 16 men in 2009. Credit: Press Association archive

Speaking at a news conference in Aberdeen, their lawyer Chris Gordon reiterated calls for a public inquiry and asked the Crown Office to revisit the question of whether there should be prosecutions. He said:

"It is five years since this accident happened. The inquiry has taken far too long.

Many of the witnesses could simply not remember anything. It is an appalling state of affairs which the families all agree with."

Bond: Findings not proved beyond reasonable doubt

The helicopter operator heavily criticised by an inquiry into the North Sea helicopter crash in 2009 said the findings did not prove their responsibility beyond reasonable doubt.

Read: Helicopter operator failures blamed for fatal crash

In a statement, Bond Offshore said:

Although Sheriff Principal Pyle has indicated that spalling was, on balance, the most likely reason for the catastrophic gearbox failure which caused the accident - a view not shared by the independent Air Accidents Investigation Branch - he did not find that this was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Additionally, he determined that even if we had followed the correct procedure it is by no means certain that the gearbox would have been removed, as there may not have been sufficient evidence of particles to warrant its removal.

But we have always accepted that we made mistakes through honest confusion over telephone calls and emails.

The statement went on to express their "deep sorrow" at the loss of the 16 men who died in the crash.

More: Families call for public inquiry into North Sea helicopter crash

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North Sea helicopter crash: 'lessons have been learned'

A statement from Bond Offshore said: "We have always accepted that we made mistakes through honest confusion over telephone calls and emails.

"Lessons needed to be learned, lessons have been learned and lessons continue to be learned."

"We would like to express again our deep sorrow at the 16 lives lost in 2009. We owe it to their memories, and to the 160,000 men and women we carry every year, to continue to deliver the highest standards of safety in everything we do."

– Bond Offshore

Families call for public inquiry into North Sea crash

The families of the 16 men who died in the North Sea helicopter crash are calling for a full public inquiry into their deaths.

Speaking at a press conference as a it emerged that the accident could have been avoided, the families said they were surprised and disappointed that no criminal charges have been brought.

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Helicopter operator failures blamed for fatal crash

The inquiry into the deaths of 16 men in a North Sea helicopter crash in 2009 identified the following failures of Bond, the helicopter operator:

  • The failed to carry out proper maintenance procedure after a metal particle had been discovered in the helicopter's chip detector
  • They failed to ensure proper communication with the manufacturer, in accordance with recognised procedures
  • The result of which was the failure to carry out specific maintenance tasks and in doing so the operator failed to avoid the consequences - the fatal crash.

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Super Puma 'suffered catastrophic failure' before crash

A probe by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found that a Bond Super Puma suffered a "catastrophic failure" of its main rotor gearbox before it crashed into the North Sea, killing 16 men.

The AAIB report said that the gearbox failure caused the main rotor on the AS332-L2 model to break away and its "tail boom" was severed from the fuselage.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry, which will publish its findings today, focused largely on maintenance carried out on the helicopter's gearbox in the weeks and months before the tragedy.

Read: Fatal air crash inquiry findings published today

Fatal air crash inquiry findings published today

A Scottish judge will deliver his fatal accident inquiry findings into a North Sea helicopter crash that killed 16 men in Aberdeenshire in 2009.

File photo of two Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma helicopters. Credit: PA

Fourteen oil workers and two crew died when a Bond Super Puma fell from the sky "like a torpedo" into the North Sea on April 1, 2009.

Eight of the victims came from the north east of Scotland, seven from the rest of the UK, and one from Latvia.

Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle heard evidence from the helicopter operator and manufacturer as well as crash investigators during a six-week fatal accident inquiry into the circumstances of the crash at Aberdeen's Town House earlier this year.

Ferry travellers describe fights on board after blaze

Travellers on the North Sea ferry forced to return to the UK after a fire broke out on board have been describing the scenes from last night.

One said fights broke out when it was announced the ship would not be continuing to Holland, while another described the “Chinese whispers” surrounding the causes of the fire.

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