Helicopter crash which killed two North East oil workers caused by "perfect storm" of circumstances

Dive Vessel Bibby Polaris, that was involved in the salvage of a Super Puma helicopter that plunged into the North Sea killing four oil workers, is pictured off the coast of Shetland. A white tarpaulin covers material towards the rear of the vessel.
The Dive Vessel Bibby Polaris was involved in the salvage of a Super Puma helicopter that plunged into the North Sea killing four oil workers. Credit: PA Images

A North Sea helicopter crash which claimed the lives of four people, including two men from the North East, was the result of a "perfect storm" of circumstances, an inquiry has found.

The Super Puma L2 hit the sea on its approach to Sumburgh Airport in Shetland in 2013.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) said the pilot failed to maintain the correct speed as the helicopter approached.

North east oil workers Duncan Munro (left) and George Allison (second left) were killed in the accident. Credit: Handout

George Allison, 57, who was originally from South Shields and Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, died along with Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin and Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness.

Two crew members and 12 passengers survived when the Super Puma ditched in the sea.

Sherrif Principal Derek Pyle said a "a perfect storm of circumstances" meant the safety barriers in place did not prevent or remedy the "one failure" of the pilot, "to mantain the correct speed."

But Mr Pyle said there was "plainly no wilful neglect" on the part of Captain Martin Miglans, who was describing as a "pilot of huge experience with a first class record of flying over many years".

The Sherrif Principal said that no precautions could reasonably have been taken that might have avoided the accident and the resulting deaths.

Co-pilot Alan Bell was priased for his "exemplary conduct", in the immediate moments before the crash and his efforts to save the survivors, "but for which others would almost certainly have died."

Mr Pyle said much has improved over the last 20 years, and that while helicopter trips in the North Sea are by their nature more perilous than general flights by fixed wing aeroplanes they are a "safe means of transport."