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Court / First hearing scheduled for inquiry into Sumburgh helicopter crash

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

A PRELIMINARY hearing for the inquiry into the fatal helicopter crash off Sumburgh six years ago is set to take place in January.

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

A preliminary hearing for the fatal accident inquiry will be held at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on 29 January.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “The procurator fiscal has initiated the judicial process for a fatal accident inquiry into the four deaths that resulted from the Sumburgh helicopter crash.

“COPFS appreciates the importance of this inquiry to those affected. The nearest relatives of those who lost their lives have been informed of this development.

“The Crown is working closely with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service who are responsible for scheduling all dates and the venue for the inquiry.”

There will be procedural hearings before the inquiry starts properly. The venue and dates for any further hearings and the inquiry proper will be confirmed in due course.

The accident happened 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 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.