Use of an Airbus helicopter model involved in a fatal crash off the coast of Norway suspended by regional aviation authority. Photo courtesy of Airbus.
STAVANGER, Norway, June 2 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil said Thursday a government regulator has banned the use of the type of helicopter involved in a fatal April accident.
An Airbus helicopter H225 Super Puma, formerly known as a Eurocopter EC225, crashed April 29 off the coast of Norway after picking up passengers from a Statoil oil platform. The group on board included 11 Norwegians, one Italian and one British citizen, according to authorities. All died as a result of the wreck and all on board were employees of Statoil.
Statoil, which used the helicopter for emergency service operations, said the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority has decided to suspend all use of the H255.
"Statoil is obliged to ensure preparedness in compliance with applicable regulations," the company said in a statement.
The aviation authority said it was working with its counterparts in the British government on the suspension. Bans for passenger flights on the Airbus Super Puma were enacted shortly after the April accident.
According to Airbus, about 70 percent of its Super Puma fleet is used to transport personnel to and from offshore oil and gas installations. In February, Airbus said it received certification to use a GPS approach system for offshore operations. Marie-Agnes Veve, head of the fleet program for Airbus, said at the time the intent of the approach system was to ensure reliability and "the safest flight conditions possible."
Airbus had no public statement on the suspension announcement from Statoil and the aviation authority said the cause of the April accident remains under investigation. Statoil said it has since added alternative models to its fleet of air transport vehicles.