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13 March 2014, 10:58
An inquiry into a helicopter crash that killed 16 people off the coast of Scotland in 2009, including a man from Norfolk, could have been prevented if reasonable precautions had been taken.
Fourteen oil workers and two crew died when the Bond Super Puma plunged into the water off the Aberdeenshire coast on April 1st, 2009, including 34 year old Nolan Goble from Norwich.
It was flying back from an oil platform - when it's gearbox failed.
A six-week fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the circumstances of the crash was held before Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle at Aberdeen's Town House earlier this year.
Sheriff Pyle found that the accident might have been avoided if several failures by Bond had not occurred.
A statement from Bond Offshore said: "Although Sheriff Principal Pyle has indicated that spalling was, on balance, the most likely reason for the catastrophic gearbox failure which caused the accident - a view not shared by the independent Air Accidents Investigation Branch - he did not find that this was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
"Additionally, he determined that even if we had followed the correct procedure it is by no means certain that the gearbox would have been removed, as there may not have been sufficient evidence of particles to warrant its removal."
It continued: "We are pleased the Sheriff Principal recognised that Bond engineers understood the vital importance of their role in ensuring the safety of their pilots and passengers.
"But we have always accepted that we made mistakes through honest confusion over telephone calls and emails.
"Lessons needed to be learned, lessons have been learned and lessons continue to be learned. We are absolutely committed to continuing to drive safety improvements across the business, and will study the Sheriff Principal's recommendations carefully, along with our industry colleagues."
It concluded: "We would like to express again our deep sorrow at the 16 lives lost in 2009. We owe it to their memories, and to the 160,000 men and women we carry every year, to continue to deliver the highest standards of safety in everything we do."