Technical failure blamed for Norne crash

November 9, 2001, 13:00 CET

The helicopter crash on Statoil’s Norne field in the Norwegian Sea on 8 September 1997 has been attributed to technical causes by the Norwegian Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (HSL).

Its report on the incident is due to be published today, 9 November.

The crashed helicopter was a Super Puma AS332L-1, on its way to Norne from the Brønnøysund heliport in northern Norway with 10 passengers and two pilots. All were killed in the accident.

Investigations have revealed fatigue cracking in the right-hand input shaft pin in the helicopter’s main gear box. This component transfers power from the right-hand engine to the rotor head.

When it broke, both shaft and turbine became unbalanced. This caused the engine to “explode” before the steering gear ceased to function. The other engine was thereby destroyed.

As a result of inquiries since the crash, the HSL has issued 18 recommendations to Norway’s civil aviation authorities and helicopter owner Helikopter Service.

Measures relating to technical aspects, maintenance and procedures have also been adopted in the wake of the accident.

Information about the HSL report will be placed in all Norwegian heliports, along with material from Statoil and Helikopter Service. These will also be available to passengers with other companies.

Before publication of the report, the immediate families of those killed in the accident have been given a presentation of its main findings.

This meeting in Bergen was organised by Statoil and Helikopter Service.

“The Norne accident was a costly lesson, which will be there at all times to remind us that work on safety must always come first,” Statoil chief executive Olav Fjell told the bereaved.