Glasgow crash firm grounds 22 helicopters

The British operator of a Eurocopter EC135 helicopter involved in a fatal crash in Glasgow said Thursday it had grounded its 22-strong fleet of the model after discovering a defect.

The "precautionary measure" by Bond Air Services put one-third of Britain's police and ambulance helicopters out of action, according to the BBC.

Bond later confirmed that the aircraft which had been found to have "no fault" had returned to service, while others were still undergoing tests.

"Following an issue with the fuel indication system on one of our aircraft yesterday we temporarily suspended service operations whilst we undertook further technical investigations of our fleet of EC 135s," said a Bond statement.

"Some of the Bond aircraft are now back in service, while the technical checks and investigation performed by Bond and Eurocopter technical experts continue," it added.

Eurocopter, which is owned by European aerospace giant EADS, said the decision to ground the helicopters was standard procedure, and stressed that no action was needed by other operators around the world.

The news came as authorities in Scotland said another person had died from injuries sustained in last month's crash of a Bond-operated police helicopter, bringing the death toll to 10.

After overnight checks on the faulty air ambulance helicopter, the company carried out tests on each of the grounded aircraft.

In a statement, Eurocopter said: "The ongoing investigation follows a standard procedure initiated in case of a reported incident. Eurocopter is in close contact with Bond to fully support the activities.

"Eurocopter does not recommend any further action for the other EC135 aircraft in service around the world."

There was no indication of a link with the November 29 crash in Glasgow, when an EC135 apparently dropped out of the sky onto the roof of a crowded pub.

The cause remains a mystery, after investigators found no evidence of engine or gearbox failure and reported that all significant components were present when it crashed.

The 10th victim, 59-year-old Joe Cusker, died on Thursday in hospital in Glasgow, police said.

© 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Dec 12, 2013