Eurocopter has issued a statement that essentially clears operator Bond Offshore Helicopters in the ditching of an EC225 medium twin in the North Sea last month. “At this stage of the investigation, neither procedure failure nor human error on the operator’s side have been identified as a potential contributor to the cause of the incident,” the manufacturer said.
Just weeks after having questioned the crew’s decision to ditch following dual loss-of-lubrication alarms, the manufacturer is now praising the pilots’ “professionalism and skill.” Eurocopter says it expects “no redesign or grounding requirement” from civil aviation authorities as a result of the incident.
All 14 aboard survived the ditching, which sparked an emergency Airworthiness Directive and Bond’s decision to suspend some flights. Since the ditching, only EC225s equipped with health and usage monitoring systems (Hums) are authorized to perform IFR flights over water. The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) probe is focusing on the failures of both the primary and backup main-gearbox lubrication systems.