Alta crash prompts ’emergency alert’

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Airbus Helicopters has issued an “Emergency Alert Service Bulletin” urging some immediate inspections after one of its helicopters crashed in the northern Norwegian city of Alta late last month. The alert was issued during the night, right after an examination of the helicopter wreckage began on Tuesday.

An Airbus AS 350 in flight. PHOTO: Airbus Helicopters

Norway’s state accident investigations board (Statens havarikommisjon) issued a press release stating that Airbus was calling for “immediate visual inspection” of all recent models of its AS350, AS550 and EC130 helicopters. At issue is a possible defect in the connection between the engine and the main gear box.

It was an Airbus AS 350 B3E helicopter that crashed during a sightseeing tour connected to a music festival in Alta on August 31. All the young passengers on board were killed, plus the pilot.

The first detailed examinations of the helicopter wreckage began on Tuesday in cooperation with the French Aviation Accident Investigatin Bureau. Technical advisers from Airbus Helicopters and the engine manufacturer, Safran Helicopter Engines, are also involved in the examinations and the emergency alert came shortly thereafter.

Airbus described the alert as a “precautionary measure” regarding the brand-new helicopter that crashed after less than 73 flight hours. All involved stressed that the examination of the helicopter that crashed is ongoing and that no conclusions into the cause of the crash have been made.

Read the press release from Norway’s accident investigations board here (external link).

newsinenglish.no staff