(Corrects "casual" to "causal" in 4th par)
LONDON, Sept 5 A British air safety
investigation team said on Thursday that it had found no
evidence of technical failure in a helicopter that crashed in
the North Sea near Scotland's Shetland Islands.
Four oil rig contractors were killed when a Super Puma L2,
made by EADS' unit Eurocopter, crashed into the sea off
Shetland's rocky southern coast on Aug. 23.
The helicopter, carrying 16 passengers and two crew, was
operated by CHC Helicopter for France's Total
, and was heading to Sumburgh airport in Shetland.
"To date, no evidence of a causal technical failure has been
identified," the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said
in a report, adding that detailed examination of the black box
data and the helicopter was continuing.
The investigators said preliminary analysis of the data
showed the helicopter had been on the normal flight path to the
airport when it suddenly started to descend faster and lower
than the normal approach two miles from the runway.
Both engines had been delivering power until the helicopter,
which was intact, hit the water, it said.
The AAIB report, known as a special bulletin, comes after a
British helicopter safety group last week ended a six-day
suspension on all flights by Super Puma helicopters in the North
Sea that was imposed following the crash.
The crash was the fifth accident in four years in the area
involving different models of Super Pumas which included a fatal
crash of an L2 in April 2009 in which 16 people were killed.
A spokesman for the Unite union said the AAIB report did not
alleviate offshore workers' fears about the safety of the Super
Puma fleet and the industry had to take action on offshore
"It's not just about whether the Super Puma fleet is
airworthy, more urgently it's a question of whether they are fit
for the safe transportation of people to and from offshore
installations," said the spokesman.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)