The black box data recorder from the crashed Super Puma helicopter has been found this afternoon.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed the news in a short statement. “The combined voice and flight data recorder from the AS332 L2 Super Puma helicopter has been successfully recovered and will be transported to the AAIB HQ in Farnborough later today.”
Earlier today the AAIB revealed the helicopter did not appear to have experienced any problems until about three miles from Sumburgh.
The investigators said: “Preliminary information indicates that the approach proceeded normally until approximately three miles from the runway when there was a reduction in airspeed accompanied by an increased rate of descent.”
When the helicopter struck the sea the AAIB said, “the evidence currently available suggests that the helicopter was intact and upright when it entered the water. It then rapidly inverted and drifted northwards towards Garths Ness.” The statement adds that the investigation is at an early stage and it is “not possible to identify the causal factors leading to the accident.”
The helicopter was largely broken up by crashing into the rocky shoreline. Parts of the wreckage were brought into Lerwick Harbour by salvage vessel Bibby Polaris early today.
• In depth coverage of the crash and its aftermath in tomorrow’s Shetland Times.