Gearbox fault helicopters ‘must be grounded’

25 Oct

Unite will this afternoon (Thursday 25th October) tell the second emergency meeting of the Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) that all Eurocopter Super Puma EC225-type aircraft serving the North Sea offshore industry should be grounded.

This comes in the wake of Monday’s latest helicopter ditching involving the Super Puma model, the second such incident in six months. It also follows the release of the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report attributing the ditching off the Shetland Isles, where 19 people were rescued, to ‘serious mechanical failure in the gearbox’.

Unite Regional Industrial Officer Willie Wallace said, “The AAIB findings point towards a serious mechanical failure in the gearbox as the cause of Monday’s ditching. 

It’s the same fault which caused the ditching of the Super Puma off Aberdeen last May, so we clearly have a problem with the gearbox components on these particular helicopters. 

The manufacturer Eurocopter has ordered safety checks and said that ‘two ditchings is two too many’.  We agree but we also said on Tuesday that we cannot rely on luck to keep saving lives. 

We now have hard facts over the cause of this recurring problem – grounding these helicopters is the only sensible and truly safe option available to us until the problem is resolved.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Unite Industrial Officer William Wallace on 07712444952 or our Aberdeen Office on or 01224 645271.

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