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'No one held to account' for North Sea helicopter crash that killed 16 people

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 which claimed 16 lives.

A fatal accident inquiry is due to get under way 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 57-year-old Raymond Doyle from Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire.

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

Mr Doyle's 35-year-old daughter Lorraine said they do 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'm sickened it's an FAI (fatal accident inquiry) and not a criminal prosecution. It felt like a massive kick in the teeth when we were told," she said.

"They didn't explain why it was an FAI, just that there wasn't 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 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 (AAIB) 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 this 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.

Mother-of-one Ms Doyle said her family will 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're 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've just got to accept what we've been told and it's sickening.

"My dad just went to work and didn't come back. You're still expecting him to come back through the door.

"What a waste of 16 lives."

Captain and co-pilot Paul Burnham, 31, from Methlick in Aberdeenshire, and Richard Menzies, 24, from Droitwich Spa in 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; and 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, from Angus; Nairn Ferrier, 40, from Dundee; James Edwards, 33, from Liverpool; Nolan Goble, 34, from Norwich; and Mihails Zuravskis, 39, from Latvia.

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

"The deaths of all 16 men who lost their lives in the tragedy are to be the subject of an inquiry in terms of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976. That inquiry is scheduled to start in Aberdeen on January 6 2014.

"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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