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Court / Carmichael calls Sumburgh accident inquiry delay ‘unacceptable’

Some of the helicopter wreckage following the crash in August last year - Photo: Garry SandisonPhoto: Garry Sandison

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael says it is “unacceptable” that an inquiry into the fatal helicopter crash off Sumburgh six years ago has not yet commenced.

Four oil workers, George Allison, Sarah Darnley, Duncan Munro and Gary McCrossan, died and 14 others were rescued when the Super Puma aircraft crashed while approaching Sumburgh Airport on 23 August 2013.

In June the crown office confirmed that a fatal accident inquiry would take place into the crash, but it is still only being prepared.

Carmichael said on Thursday that it is now “high time for us to get answers”.

“It is unacceptable that, over six years on, the inquiry into the Sumburgh helicopter crash has still not started,” he said.

“Helicopter journeys are a fact of life for oil workers in Shetland, and we need to make sure that these journeys are safe. The first step towards avoiding future accidents is to find out exactly what happened, and why.

“Better cooperation between the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the police and the procurator fiscal service would have helped to advance this process in a more timely manner. All parties should take this as their cue to improve their coordination.

“I understand that the issues around fatal accident inquiries are complex and difficult, but after six years the families of the four victims deserve closure. The helicopter incidents investigation team should take swift steps to bring this difficult story to a conclusion.”