NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Lord advocate seeking Shetland Super Puma crash voice recorder data from AAIB

Helicopter wreckage being salvaged
Four people died when the Super Puma crashed

The lord advocate is taking action in a bid to get cockpit voice recorder data from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch after four people died in a helicopter crash off Shetland.

The BBC Scotland news website has learned an order is being sought at the Court of Session to access the data, which is normally retained by the AAIB, as the crash is investigated.

It is a rare legal move.

Three men and woman died when the Super Puma crashed in August last year.

Passengers Sarah Darnley, of Elgin, Gary McCrossan, of Inverness, Duncan Munro, of Bishop Auckland, and George Allison, of Winchester, lost their lives.

The lord advocate, Scotland's top prosecution law officer, is seeking the order for disclosure of the voice recorder data recorder under the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 1996.

Section 18 covers disclosure of relevant records, and the Crown can act if it believes it to be in the public interest.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Following a helicopter crash off Sumburgh on 23 August 2013 in which four people died, Crown Office began an investigation into the cause of the deaths.

"The investigation is ongoing and the families of those who died will continue to be updated in relation to any significant developments."

A Court of Session spokesperson said no hearing had yet been set down.

An AAIB spokesperson said: "Regulations allow for the release of this type of information if a court decides it is in the public interest to do so.

"The court has yet to make its decision in this case."

A total of 18 people were on board when the Super Puma crashed on its approach to Sumburgh.

A service was held in Shetland at the weekend to mark the first anniversary of the crash.

The accident was the fourth of its kind in five years.

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