Helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter appears to be facing a backlash from North Sea oil workers after four people were killed in an AS332L2 Super Puma accident on Friday. Although the cause of the accident has not been established yet, unions and workers were quick to react to the fifth Super Puma accident or major incident in four years in the UK offshore industry.
“This is the second [Super Puma crash] resulting in fatalities. It’s unacceptable and it can’t go on,” Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said. Meanwhile, a “Destroy the Super Pumas” Facebook page has gathered more than 36,000 “likes” and some 11,000 people who no longer want to fly on Super Pumas have signed a petition.
Since early last year, another member of the Super Puma series, the EC225, has had serious technical problems with its main gearbox. The Helicopter Safety Steering Group, which includes industry and government representatives, has now recommended the suspension of all Super Puma flights, a move that would deprive the North Sea market of more than 50 percent of its capacity.
Eurocopter CEO Guillaume Faury arrived yesterday in Aberdeen, Scotland, the main UK hub for helicopter operations to North Sea oil and gas rigs. “We all at Eurocopter are deeply saddened by this accident,” Faury said. “We express our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives. Our thoughts are with all those affected, including the workforce in the North Sea.”