NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Hearing set for Super Puma evidence legal action

Helicopter wreckage being salvaged Image copyright PA
Image caption Four people died when the Super Puma crashed off Shetland

A hearing over legal action to obtain cockpit voice recorder data from accident investigators after a fatal helicopter crash is to be held in May.

Three men and woman died when the Super Puma crashed off Shetland in 2013.

The BBC Scotland news website revealed last year an order was being sought at the Court of Session to access the data, which is normally retained by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

The hearing is now set to start on 19 May.

It is a rare legal move.

Helicopter passengers Sarah Darnley, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, from Inverness, Duncan Munro, from Bishop Auckland, and George Allison, from Winchester, lost their lives.

Relatives informed

The lord advocate, Scotland's top prosecutor, 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 told BBC Scotland: "Following the helicopter crash off Sumburgh on 23 August 2013 in which four people died, Crown Office commenced its investigation into the cause of the deaths.

"As part of that investigation Crown Counsel instructed that a petition be lodged at the Court of Session with the aim of recovering material held by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

"The process by which such material can be recovered is set out in statute. A hearing has now been fixed to commence on 19 May.

"The nearest relatives have been updated regarding this development. As this is a live investigation it is not appropriate to comment further."

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

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