The main wreckage from the Eurocopter AS332 L2 Super Puma that crashed into the North Sea on 1 April returning from an oil rig to Aberdeen has been recovered from the seabed and taken to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch at Farnborough for examination. All 14 passengers and two crew are now confirmed to have died in the accident.

The AAIB says the crew transmitted a "brief" mayday call before the helicopter, G-REDL, operated by Bond Offshore, lost contact with air traffic control. Weather conditions and the sea state at the time of the accident were reported as "benign", but witnesses interviewed by the AAIB told the agency that they saw the Super Puma "descend rapidly and impact the surface of the sea".

This happened 20km (11nm) north-east of Peterhead, says the AAIB, as the aircraft was in the cruise returning to Aberdeen from the BP Miller oil platform.

The combined cockpit voice and flight data recorder was retrieved on 5 April, and a salvage vessel chartered by the AAIB has since recovered most of the wreckage from the seabed. It says it has invited the European Aviation Safety Agency, French accident investigation agency BEA and Eurocopter to take part in the probe.

Source: Flight International