Divers have found a “vital” missing part from a Super Puma helicopter that crashed in Norway last year, killing 13 people.
The Accident Investigation Board of Norway (AIBN) said today that the component had been uncovered in the sea near the crash site.
The part which has been found is the “epicyclic gear 2nd stage planet gear carrier”, the AIBN said.
The accident on April 29, 2016, near Bergen claimed the life of 41-year-old Aberdeenshire man Iain Stuart, 10 other passengers and the two crew onboard the Airbus Super Puma 225.
The aircraft had been on a return journey from Statoil’s Gullfaks B platform to Flesland Airport when its main rotor suddenly detached.
Flight data showed the CHC Helicopter-operated Super Puma dropped 2,100ft in the last 10 seconds of its journey.
Investigators suspect the accident was caused by a fatigue fracture in one of the gears.
Earlier preliminary reports have also shown “clear similarities” between the incident in April and a crash off Peterhead in 2009 where 16 people died after a different model of Super Puma crashed.
The AIBN said last month that it would publish a new preliminary report into the causes of the crash on the anniversary of the tragedy.
The H225 Super Puma and other variants have been grounded in the North Sea since the crash.
European regulators conditionally lifted a ban on flights of certain Super Puma helicopters last year but the UK and Norway have kept restrictions in place.
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