OFFSHORE workers injured or traumatised when their helicopter ditched off Shetland in 2012 are closer to settling compensation after the aircraft's manufacturer accepted responsibility.

Lawyers representing 12 of the passengers on board the Eurocopter Super Puma which came down in the North Sea 32 miles off Shetland in October 2012 have welcomed the move.

An Air Accident Investigation Branch report concluded the chopper had ditched due to a failure of the gearbox lubrication system and a false warning in the emergency lubrication system.

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The passengers and crew evacuated the helicopter and boarded two life-rafts before being rescued and transported to a nearby ship. Although no-one was killed in the incident, several passengers have reported they believed they were going to die.

Eurocopter, now known as Airbus Helicopters, have written to law firm Irwin Mitchell stating it accepts it is solely responsible for the failures which led to the crew ditching the aircraft, causing both physical and psychological injuries to those on board.

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and partner in Irwin Mitchell's Aviation Law team representing victims of the October 2012 ditching, said: "We welcome this formal acceptance of responsibility from Airbus Helicopters for the worrying failures that led to this helicopter being ditched into the North Sea.

"Fortunately, everyone survived this terrifying incident but several of the passengers have suffered physical and serious psychological injuries as they were genuinely resigned to the fact that they may die.

"Many are still suffering from the effects to this day and need specialist therapy such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy which we hope will help them come to terms with they went through."

Eurocopter also manufactured the helicopter which crashed into the Clutha bar in Glasgow. Investigations into the incident are continuing.