Illustration; Source: Bristow

Tragedy strikes during training exercise as helicopter crash ends in fatality

A crew member has died during a training assignment after one of Bristow Group’s search and rescue (SAR) helicopters was involved in an accident approximately 15 nautical miles west of Bergen off the coast of Norway.

Illustration; Source: Bristow

At the time of the incident, the helicopter, registration LN-OIJ with six crew members on board, was on a training assignment for Equinor and was connected to the SAR service for the Oseberg area in the North Sea. As a result, the Norwegian state-owned energy giant is cooperating closely with the helicopter operator, Bristow Norway, and relevant authorities in the handling and follow-up of the incident.

Commenting on the helicopter crash, Bristow stated: “It is with deep sadness that we can report one fatality has been confirmed. The other five crew members have varying levels of injuries. Our thoughts are with all those affected during this incredibly difficult period. At this time, the full resources of Bristow’s incident response team are being mobilized.

“The company is in the process of contacting and providing assistance to family members of those onboard and fully cooperating with authorities responding to the incident. Our highest priority is to take care of our crew and their family members and provide them with any assistance needed.”

According to Equinor, the cause of the accident is not yet known. Following this accident, the Norwegian player has decided to halt all its regular flights on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) out of consideration for those affected and to get an overview of the situation.

Since Equinor aims to get the helicopters back to normal operation quickly, the firm explains that it is now making the necessary preparations to achieve this safely. The company has established a next-of-kin support line and helped establish a center for next of kin in cooperation with the police.

Anders Opedal, Equinor’s CEO, underlined: “This is a deeply tragic incident. Today is a difficult day for many. Our thoughts are with the families, close ones and others affected. Everyone on board the helicopter was on an assignment for Equinor.

“Our key task now is to help take care of those involved. We express our thanks to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and everyone involved in the rescue operation and the ongoing work.”

Bristow is carrying out search and rescue services for Equinor at the Johan Sverdrup and Statfjord B platforms in the Norwegian North Sea, thanks to a multi-year deal from September 2022.

Aside from Norwegian operations, the company also covers helicopter services for Equinor’s installations in Brazil and the U.S.