Oil & Gas

Video: Footage shows moment Storm Otto rips blades off helicopter

Footage has emerged showing the moment powerful winds from Storm Otto ripped the blades off a North Sea helicopter.

The incident took place during the storm on Friday, February 17 on the Elgin-Franklin platform, as 100 mile per hour winds battered north-east Scotland.

Offshore Helicopter Services, which operates the Airbus H175, said it took place while the G-MCSH aircraft was parked on the platform 130 miles east of Aberdeen.

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating the facts and will publish a full report on the incident.

Video shows Storm Otto spinning both the main rotor and the tail rotor on the platform, before the main blades bend and snap off during the powerful storm  – one of which flies off towards the installation.

The Elgin is comprised of four wellhead platforms, and the accident took place on the process, utilities and quarters (PUQ) section.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Platform operator TotalEnergies confirmed the helicopter crew had elected to shut down the aircraft the platform – before the incident took place – due to a preventative system warning.

Having arrived on the platform earlier that day, an illuminated tail rotor chip light prevented it from departing for its return journey.

Following the incienet, photos showed the G-MCSH helicopter having been moved off the helipad, with three of its five blades snapped off because of Storm Otto.

The helicopter was later taken to shore and towed by car through the streets of Aberdeen for repairs.

Pictures showed the Storm Otto helicopter being towed by road from the Harbour through Victoria Road in Torry with an escort vehicle.

Following the incident, RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy highlighted that lessons will be learned through the investigation.

He said the platform and helicopter operator would have been aware of the risks of having the chopper on the Elgin during the storm, but were left with “few if any other options open”.

OHS – formerly the UK business of Babcock International – is in the process of being sold to South African firm Ultimate Aviation Group following a deal struck in December.

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