Minister apologises over Super Puma crash report

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

Related Stories

A UK minister has apologised for the length of time it took to publish a report into the deaths of 16 men in a helicopter crash off Peterhead.

Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said it was ''unacceptable'' that it had taken five years to publish the report into the North Sea Super Puma crash.

He said part of the delay was due to considering possible prosecutions.

The report, published last week, concluded that the accident might have been prevented.

It found that the operators had considered replacing part of the gearbox just a week before the crash happened in April 2009 but did not do so because of a failure of communication with the manufacturer.

Relatives of those who died have called for a criminal prosecution and a full public inquiry.

Mr Goodwill, who had been giving evidence to the Commons Transport Committee, rejected the idea of a public inquiry during later evidence to MPs.

The Super Puma before it crashed The Bond Super Puma came down off Peterhead, killing 16 men

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) pinpointed a catastrophic failure of the gearbox in its examination of the crash.

Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle acknowledged that the exact cause of the gearbox failure which led to the crash could not be fully determined.

He concluded that on the balance of probabilities the spalling - the fracturing of metal - in the gearbox was the probable cause of the accident.

A six-week hearing into the crash was held in Aberdeen earlier this year.

It heard evidence from the helicopter operator Bond Offshore Helicopters and manufacturer Eurocopter, as well as crash investigators.

Not 'survivable'

Senior AAIB operations investigator Timothy Atkinson told the fatal accident inquiry that the gearbox failure meant there was nothing the crew could do - and the crash was "not survivable".

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

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.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC North East, Orkney and Shetland



5 °C 1 °C


  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Why are people getting better at intelligence tests?

  • BeefaloBeefalo hunt

    The hybrid animal causing havoc in the Grand Canyon

  • A British Rail signBringing back BR

    Would it be realistic to renationalise the railways?

  • Banksy image of girl letting go of heart-shaped balloonFrom the heart

    Fergal Keane on the relationship between love and politics

  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.