North Sea Helicopter Lands On Wrong Platform: Report

Published at 02:29PM - 10/06/16

A North Sea helicopter landed on the wrong platform as the pilots misidentified the correct landing location, according to a report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The S92 landed on a Golden Eagle rig, eight miles away from the Buzzard facility where it was supposed to arrive.

“Whilst on deck on the Paragon MSS1, the commander misidentified the Golden Eagle complex as the Buzzard complex because it was a large complex of installations an fitted his mental image and expectation of the orientation of the Buzzard complex,” the report reads.

North Sea Helicopter Lands on Wrong Platform

According to the report, the pilots did not use the aircraft’s navigation systems and flew by sight instead. Both the pilots were suspended following the incident.

Nexen Operated Golden Eagle Offshore Platform, UK North Sea
Nexen Operated Golden Eagle Offshore Platform, UK North Sea

“The visual appearance of their next destination, whilst on deck on the Paragon MSS1, was the sole method of identification used by the crew”, the report stated further.

Nexen Operated Buzzard Offshore Platform, UK North Sea
Nexen Operated Buzzard Offshore Platform, UK North Sea

“During the subsequent short flight, the Golden Eagle complex continued to meet their expectation of the appearance of the Buzzard complex. They did not refer to the information provided by the FMS on the range and bearing of the Buzzard complex, as advised in the company’s operations manual,” AAIB explained.

Pilots Did Not Use Navigation Aids

According to AAIB’s report, the commander did not use navigation to determine the destination “and the limited familiarity of the co-pilot with the area may have led him to accept the assessment of the commander”.

The crew was reportedly distracted by radio calls from the platform Log operator regarding payloads.

“After realising they had landed on the incorrect rig, the crew carried out the ‘HelideckMisidentification’ procedure. They completed the first six of the eight actions correctly but, considering the circumstances, the commander believed that he was complying with the requirement to ‘Remain running on deck unless an immediate take-off is the safest action’, by taking off. 

To Download the report, Click Here.