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Report Blames Crew for Crash

An investigation into the 2009 helicopter crash in the North Sea blames crew error for the crash. The crash occurred when a helicopter carrying 18 people on board, including several offshore crew members, went down into the sea 300 m short of a BP oil and gas platform 125 miles east of Aberdeen.

There were no casualties, and all 18 people were rescued. Workers on the BP Oil and Gas platform witnessed the crash, and were able to begin rescue operations immediately to retrieve the crew from of the water.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has released its report indicating that the pilot failed to notice that the aircraft was descending into the sea. Crew members likely wrongly estimated the position of the platform or were mislead by an illusion that indicated the wrong altitude of the helicopter.

The report has several recommendations to prevent helicopter crashes of this kind in the future.  One of these recommendations is that the Civil Aviation Authority conduct a study of the visual illusions possible when an offshore helicopter approaches a platform in poor visibility.

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