16 die in second Bond helicopter crash

April 1: Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma G-REDL, operated by Bond Helicopters on a charter for BP to the Miller field, crashed just before 14:00 in the North Sea approximately 14 miles from Rattray Head, 38 miles North East of Aberdeen. It was carrying 14 passengers and two pilots.
Two RAF Search & Rescue helicopters were quickly scrambled to the scene and a Nimrod marine patrol aircraft diverted to the area, together with RNLI lifeboats from Peterhead and Fraserburgh. Aberdeen Coastguard said the weather was dry and settled with light breezes, visibility moderate to good, with a water temperature of 8 degrees Celsius.
Two life rafts were spotted in the water, both overturned. Wreckage was also evident from BBC pictures as the search teams returned to shore, suggesting a high-impact incident. Eight bodies had been recovered by Thursday evening, when the search was officially abandoned. The Super Puma is believed to be lying on the bed of the North Sea at a depth of 100m.
This crash follows the non-fatal ditching of Super Puma G-REDU in the North Sea on February 18, making for a desperate time for the operator, Bond Helicopters. BP has suspended all flights with the operator in the immediate future to give the company time to recover – Bond spokesman Dick Mutch told the Daily Record: “This is not an aircraft issue. We have every confidence in the Super Puma.”
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has chartered the survey vessel VIGILANT to begin its recovery investigation.