NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Super Puma inquiry: Final witness gives evidence

All 16 helicopter crash victims
All 16 men on board the Super Puma died

The final witness has given evidence in the fatal accident inquiry into the Super Puma crash in the North Sea which killed 16 men in 2009.

All those on board the Bond helicopter died when it came down. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch pinpointed a catastrophic failure of the gearbox for the crash.

Final submissions from lawyers will now be heard on Thursday.

The inquiry in Aberdeen began on 6 January.

The final witness was Bond avionics team leader Phil Eaton.

He reported data issues with the helicopter to the French manufacturers on 25 March, a few days before the crash.

Mr Eaton said Health Usage and Monitoring System (HUMS) data - which recognises faults in helicopter gearboxes - had "baffled" him.

The inquiry heard that the HUMS issue was later identified as a computer error.

Mr Eaton said communication procedures changed at Bond after the accident.

Every phone conversation now has to be backed up by written confirmation and documentation.

The two crew who died were Capt Paul Burnham, 31, of Methlick, Aberdeenshire, and co-pilot Richard Menzies, 24, of Droitwich Spa, who worked for Bond Offshore Helicopters.

The KCA Deutag employees killed were Brian Barkley, 30, of Aberdeen; Vernon Elrick, 41, of Aberdeen; Leslie Taylor, 41, of Kintore, Aberdeenshire; Nairn Ferrier, 40, of Dundee; Gareth Hughes, 53, of Angus; David Rae, 63, of Dumfries; Raymond Doyle, 57, of Cumbernauld; James John Edwards, 33, of Liverpool; Nolan Goble, 34, of Norwich, and Mihails Zuravskis, 39, of Latvia.

The other victims were James Costello, 24, of Aberdeen, who was contracted to Production Services Network (PSN); Alex Dallas, 62, of Aberdeen, who worked for Sparrows Offshore Services; Warren Mitchell, 38, of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, who worked for Weatherford UK; and Stuart Wood, 27, of Aberdeen, who worked for Expro North Sea Ltd.

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