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A Super Puma EC 225, operated by CHC Helicopters, carried out a controlled landing Oct. 22 en route to the West Phoenix drilling rig west of Shetland, with all 19 people on board evacuated safely to a passing vessel. CHC said it has suspended operations using helicopters of this type, while Bristow and Bond also have delayed operations of EC 225 and L2 Super Pumas while the investigation continues.
Shetland Coastguard said the CHC Super Puma involved in the ditching is still floating on the sea surface near Fair Isle, about 30 miles south of Shetland. Plans are underway to recover the craft.
The ditching is being investigated by CHC, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, and the manufacturer of the Super Puma, Eurocopter, which has sent a specialist team to Aberdeen.
In May, 14 people on board a Bond-operated Super Puma EC 225 were rescued when their helicopter came down around 30 miles offshore Aberdeen during a flight to another oil rig. The latest incident is the fourth accident involving a Super Puma in just over three years. In 2009 a Puma helicopter crashed in the North Sea and resulted in the deaths of 16 people, in an incident found to have been caused by the failure of a mechanical gear component.