Norway's Oil Industry Resumes Helicopter Flights After Deadly Crash

© Photofex / Adobe Stock
© Photofex / Adobe Stock

Norwegian oil companies resumed helicopter flights to offshore oil and gas fields on Friday following Wednesday's deadly crash off the country's west coast, operator Equinor and airports said on Friday.

On Thursday helicopter traffic was halted to oil and gas platforms following the crash in which one person died and five were injured. Norway said it was considering grounding Sikorsky's S-92A aircraft model while investigating the accident.

"Based on dialogue with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), there are no indications that helicopter safety on the Nowegian continental shelf is reduced," Equinor executive Kjetil Hove said in a statement.

The CAA told Reuters it had not received any information that would lead to it grounding the S-92A at this time.

The helicopter model, made by Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky unit, is the workhorse of Norway's oil industry, flying almost all workers to and from oilfields.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority, which is tasked with finding the cause of the accident, said work was still ongoing to locate the wreckage, which sank to a depth of several hundred metres when crashing into the ocean.

Sikorsky on Wednesday said safety was its top priority and that it stood ready to support the investigation. It was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Equinor earlier on Friday said it had concluded long-held talks with manufacturers Bell and Leonardo to buy 15 new helicopters to ensure more flexibility, although the first two aircraft will only arrive next year.

Labour unions had also asked Equinor to diversify its fleet.

One of the injured helicopter crew members remain in a serious, albeit stable condition on Friday, two others were still receiving treatment for lighter injuries while the remaining two had been discharged, the hospital treating them said.


(Reuters - Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis and Stine Jacobsen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Elaine Hardcastle)

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