The Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) met on Monday to discuss preliminary findings of last week’s Eurocopter EC225 ditching in the North Sea. Fourteen people on board the Bond Offshore-operated helicopter escaped without injury after the pilots experienced a loss of gearbox oil pressure and landed upright on the water. The May 10 incident led Bond to temporarily ground its EC225 fleet, along with the AS332L2, but the company is working with Eurocopter to “find a solution” and return the helicopters to service. The Air Accident Investigation Branch discovered a “360-degree circumferential crack in the bevel gear vertical shift” of the main gearbox, which appears to have disengaged the drive to both mechanical oil pumps. Reports have also surfaced that the engine experienced a malfunction on April 19. HSSG—which set up a web page for information about the incident—includes UK helicopter operators, offshore trade and pilot unions, oil and gas contractors and other regulators involved with Step Change in Safety.
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