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Calls for helicopter crash fatal accident inquiry

The Super Puma helicopter which ditched into the sea just over four years ago.

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott says a fatal accident inquiry should be carried out as soon as possible into the tragic helicopter crash which claimed the lives of four people near Sumburgh in 2013.

He said the inquiry should be held to put an end to “awful” uncertainty experienced by the families of those who died.

The incident happened four years ago on Wednesday when the CHC-owned Super Puma helicopter – which was carrying two pilots and 16 oil workers – crashed into the sea as it was en route to Sumburgh Airport from the Borgsten Dolphin drilling rig.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report on safety issues which was released in 2016 ruled that flight instruments detailing a reduced airspeed were not adequately monitored by pilots in the minutes before it crashed.

Tavish Scott has added to calls for a fatal accident inquiry.

But Scott told BBC Radio Shetland that a fatal accident inquiry needs to be held now to give full closure.

He echoed the mother of crash victim Sarah Darnley, who also this week called for the inquiry to take place.

“I want the fatal accident inquiry to begin without any further delay,” Scott said.

“We have waited four years after this tragedy that happened down at Sumburgh for the start of this inquiry.

“That uncertainty is awful, particularly for those who are the families of the lost, but also of course for the pilots and the industry involved.

“This has to come to an end, and we need that fatal accident inquiry to begin now.”

A Crown Office spokesman confirmed that investigations are still ongoing into the incident.

“The investigation into the Sumburgh helicopter crash on 23 August 2013 by Police Scotland, working with the assistance of the Civil Aviation Authority and under the direction of the Crown, is ongoing,” he said.

“The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report covering the safety investigation was published in March 2016 and raised a number of issues that require to be considered as part of the wider investigation.

“We will endeavour to carry out our investigation as quickly as possible but the investigation is highly complex and challenging and requires specialist input from those with the necessary expertise in civil aviation. We will continue to keep the families advised of all significant developments.”

Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness and George Allison, 57, from Winchester, all lost their lives in the crash.