April 8, 2009 | Dave Janney

Recent Helicopter Accidents

The recent incidents involving helicopters transporting people to offshore rigs have been in the news a great deal.  It really hits home for us at SI because so many of our clients travel this way and we always want them to arrive safely at their work. 

Beyond the human part of the accident equation, there is also a productivity piece; I am up in St. John’s, Newfoundland this week and last night I was talking to someone who told me that her company is now sending people to the rigs via ship until the investigations have been completed so they can make sure their workers are kept safe.  It takes 20 hours via ship vs. 1 ½ hours via helicopter to reach the rig she works on.  This is a huge impact to the business if you think about it.  I was in the UK a couple of weeks ago and talked to several industry people who were very concerned as well.

Here is a rundown of the last few weeks:

February 18 – A Super Puma operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters ditched 125 miles from Scotland on the way back from an offshore platform (1).  Thankfully, all 18 people onboard were rescued.

March 12 – A Sikorsky S92 helicopter flown by Cougar Helicopters (2) crashed in the waters about 30 miles from St. John’s while attempting to return to the airport because of mechanical problems.  There were 18 people on board, 1 was rescued.

April 1 – A Super Puma operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters (3) went down returning from a North Sea Platform to Scotland, killing 16 people.  The concern over this accident has even reached Buckingham Palace (4).

There is of course speculation over the causes of these accidents; however, I think it best to let the authorities conduct the investigations and issue the appropriate findings in due course.  Until then, our thoughts and prayers go out to those involved and we hope that the oil business will continue to thrive despite these disruptions.





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