12th December 2019
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Helicopter crash survivors seek millions in damages

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Offshore workers who survived the Super Puma crash which claimed the lives of four of their colleagues off Sumburgh have lodged a claim seeking millions of pounds in damages.

Passengers who were on board the aircraft when it fell from the sky and washed up at Garths Ness in August 2013 have raised the action against helicopter operator CHC.

helicopterThe claim is being raised for the physical, emotional and financial losses the nine workers say they have suffered since the tragedy took place.

CHC says it has already paid out £500,000 to “alleviate any potential hardship”.

Oil workers Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, George Allison, 57, from Winchester, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness and 45 year-old Sarah Darnley from Elgin were all killed when the Super Puma L2 crashed on its approach to Sumburgh. It had been flying from the Borgsten Dolphin platform east of the isles when the accident happened on 23rd August.

Press reports have highlighted a potential £5 million claim, although that figure is made up of nine individual actions, together with an understanding among legal experts of how much a claim for physical, emotional and financial losses might yield.

Partner in Digby Brown solicitors, Lisa Gregory, is representing survivors.

“These individuals have gone through a horrific experience which has affected them in many ways and will continue to do so. They have suffered emotional, physical and financial losses because of something that occurred when they were just going to work. For justice to be done, these men need to be compensated for everything that has happened to them.

“Raising these court actions is the latest step in our work to get access to justice for our clients. We have to give each individual the time they need to receive treatment and recuperate. No-one can dictate how long this process might take.”

CHC today said it “deeply regrets” the loss of life that occurred in the Sumburgh accident.

“As the second anniversary approaches, the AAIB investigation into the cause of the Sumburgh accident continues and its findings are still awaited,” a company statement said.

“Based on the ultimate findings, the company is committed to taking appropriate actions to ensure its passengers and employees continue to fly safely.

“Throughout the period of investigation, there has been much work undertaken to provide financial assistance to the families impacted by the accident.

“For those that have brought claims, the process of assessing and quantifying them has been a difficult one for all involved, but considerable progress has been made and a large number of claims have already been resolved.

“Regrettably, a few claims remain unresolved as the insurer awaits the results of professional assessments, such as medical exams. Whilst this is disappointing, CHC and its insurers are keen to receive these assessments so the process can move forward and these few outstanding claims can be resolved. In the meantime, a significant sum of money – now in excess of £500,000 – has already been paid on an interim basis and to alleviate any potential hardship.”

The statement added: “It is the company’s sincere desire to resolve the remaining outstanding claims as quickly as possible.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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