Lord Advocate asks for crash helicopter’s black box

Scotland’s Lord Advocate has asked for the black box from the Super Puma helicopter which crashed off Sumburgh to be retrieved.

Just days after a ceremony was held to mark the tragedy’s first anniversary, the country’s chief law officer, Frank Mulholland, has petitioned the Court of Session for the device.

The voice recorder is currently in the hands of the Air Accident Investigation Branch, which has already carried out enquiries into the safety aspects of the case.

The unusual legal move is being made as part of an ongoing Crown Office investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four people onboard.

When an air accident is the subject of a safety investigation by the AAIB the black box recorder is normally retained by that body. However, the regulations do allow for data from the black box to be disclosed where a court considers it to be in the public interest to do so.

Duncan Munro, 46, Sarah Darnley, 45, Gary McCrossan, 59, and 57-year-old George Allison died when the CHC-operated aircraft crashed off Garths Ness in August last year. Their families have been informed of the move.

Mandatory fatal accident inquiries are likely to be held as a result of the Crown Office’s investigations, assuming no criminal prosecutions are carried out.

A statement said: “Following a helicopter crash off Sumburgh on 23rd August 2013 in which four people died, Crown Office began an investigation into the cause of the deaths.

“The investigation is ongoing and the families of those who died will continue to be updated in relation to any significant developments.”


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