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Family's anger at no criminal prosecution for helicopter crash

The daughter of an oil worker killed in a North Sea helicopter crash says she is sickened there has been no criminal prosecution into the disaster that claimed 16 lives.

RAYMOND DOYLE: was one of the 16 victims of the tragedy.
RAYMOND DOYLE: was one of the 16 victims of the tragedy.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) is due to begin next week, almost five years after a Super Puma plunged into the water off the Aberdeenshire coast.

Many of the 14 passengers worked for KCA Deutag Drilling, including Raymond Doyle, 57, from Cumbernauld.

His family said they would attend every day of the inquiry in Aberdeen, which is expected to last about six weeks.

Mr Doyle's daughter Lorraine, 35, said they did not expect to get any closure as a result of the inquiry, or justice for those who were killed as they returned from work offshore on April 1, 2009.

"I am sickened it is an FAI and not a criminal prosecution. It felt like a massive kick in the teeth when we were told," she said.

"They did not explain why it was an FAI, just that there was not sufficient evidence for a prosecution, basically.

"Nothing will come of it. Recommendations will be made but they don't even have to follow them.

"We just want justice for all the families."

Ms Doyle, a mother-of-one, will travel from Cumbernauld to the inquiry at Aberdeen Sheriff Court with her mother Wilma, sister Caroline and Mr Doyle's brothers, Tony and Neil.

The inquiry is scheduled to begin on Monday and will hear evidence on the circumstances of the crash.

The Super Puma AS332-L2 was returning from BP's Miller platform when its main rotor gearbox suffered a "catastrophic failure". The two crew and 14 passengers were killed.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the gearbox failure caused the helicopter's main rotor to break away and its "tail boom" got severed from the fuselage.

The crash happened just six weeks after a Super Puma EC225 ditched as it approached a production platform owned by BP. All 18 people on board survived that accident.

In May last year the same model of helicopter, destined for an oil platform, went down about 30 miles off the coast of Aberdeen with 14 passengers and crew having to be rescued.

Five months later another EC225 carrying an oil crew from Aberdeen to a rig 86 miles north-west of Shetland was forced to ditch. The 17 passengers and two crew were rescued from life rafts by a passing boat.

New advice on checks for the EC225 model were issued following the accidents.

Four oil workers were killed when their Super Puma L2 plunged into the sea off Shetland on August 23 this year. Fourteen people survived.

Ms Doyle said her family would never get over their loss.

"It never leaves you, especially at this time of year. It's horrendous. We were robbed of him. He was stripped away from us," she said.

"It will be five years in April and we are no further forward. Nobody has been held accountable.

"I don't think anybody will be able to move and put our lives back together. It haunts you every day.

"We have just got to accept what we have been told and it is sickening. My dad just went to work and didn't come back. We are still expecting him to come back through the door.

"What a waste of 16 lives."

Captain and co-pilot Paul Burnham, 31, from Methlick, Aberdeenshire, and Richard Menzies, 24, from Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, were killed along with Mr Doyle and 13 other workers.

Five men from Aberdeen died: Alex Dallas, 62; James Costello, 24; Stuart Wood, 27; Vernon Elrick, 41; and Brian Barkley, 30.

Two workers were from Aberdeenshire: Leslie Taylor, 41, from Kintore, and Warren Mitchell, 38, from Oldmeldrum.

The other victims were David Rae, 63, from Dumfries; Gareth Hughes, 53, of Angus; Nairn Ferrier, 40, from Dundee; James Edwards, 33, of Liverpool; Nolan Goble, 34, of Norwich; and Mihails Zuravskis, 39, from Latvia.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Having carefully considered all the circumstances of this incident, Crown Counsel has decided there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution and, as a result, no criminal proceedings will be taken.

"The families of those who lost their lives have been kept updated throughout the course of the investigation, and will be kept informed of any significant developments."

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

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