Monday, September 26, 2011

Families settle for £15m over air crash

THE families of men killed in a North Sea helicopter crash have received a share of about £15 million in compensation.

All 16 people on board a Super Puma helicopter were killed when it crashed just off the Aberdeenshire coast in April 2009. Ten claims lodged by families of the 14 passengers, who died in the worst oil industry accident since Piper Alpha, have been settled.

Insurers at Bond Offshore Helicopters, which was operating the flight, confirmed yesterday that payments had been made to some of the victim's loved ones.

But Carolanne Dunn 39, from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, whose brother Vernon Elrick, died in the disaster, said the money was little compensation for her and parents Frances and Denis, as they await the outcome of an investigation into the tragedy.

Ms Dunn said: "We are happy with the compensation payments, but we are still not able to draw a line under this. We still have the publication of the official Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB] to face."

The Super Puma came down off Crimond, between Fraserburgh and Peterhead, as it returned to Aberdeen from BP's Miller platform. The AAIB report into the tragedy - which happened just seconds after pilots issued a mayday call to air traffic controllers in Aberdeen - is expected to be published before the end of the year. Bond has always insisted it followed all procedures laid down by the authorities and manufacturer.

Those who died were Paul Burnham, captain of the Super Puma; co-pilot, Richard Menzies; passengers Brian Barkley, Vernon Elrick, Leslie Taylor,, Nairn Ferrier, Gareth Hughes, David Rae, Raymond Doyle, James Edwards, Nolan Goble, James Costello, Alex Dallas,Warren Mitchell, Stuart Wood and Mihails Zuravskis. The partners of Cpt Burnham and Mr Menzies have raised separate actions - understood to be for about £4m.

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