2-Sep-2013 Source: AAIB
At 1717 hrs UTC on 23 August 2013, an AS332 L2 Super Puma helicopter crashed into the sea whilst on approach to Sumburgh Airport in the Shetland Islands. Four of the 18 occupants lost their lives.
The AAIB immediately despatched a team of investigators and support staff to Aberdeen and the Shetland Islands. In accordance with the normal protocols the AAIB invited representatives from the French accident investigation authority (BEA), the helicopter manufacturer, and the engine manufacturer to participate in the investigation.
Preliminary information indicates that the approach proceeded normally until approximately three miles from the runway when there was a reduction in airspeed accompanied by an increased rate of descent.
The helicopter struck the sea approximately two miles west of the Runway 09 threshold.
The evidence currently available suggests that the helicopter was intact and upright when it entered the water. It then rapidly inverted and drifted northwards towards Garths Ness. The helicopter was largely broken up by repeated contact with the rocky shoreline. Some items of wreckage have already been recovered and will be transported to the AAIB’s HQ in Farnborough.
Attempts to recover the Combined Voice and Flight Data Recorder, together with other wreckage items, are continuing. This is a challenging operation due to the nature of the environment in which the wreckage is located.
The investigation is ongoing and at this early stage it is not possible to identify the causal factors leading to the accident.
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