No mayday call before fatal helicopter crash in Norway

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(Yannis Koutsomitis / Twitter / MGN)

HELSINKI (AP) – The oil-rig helicopter that crashed in western Norway, killing 13 people, gave no mayday call or indicated it was in trouble, Norwegian investigators said Monday.

Norway’s Accident Investigation Board said the process of retrieving data from the flight and cockpit recorders had been completed and the quality of the data was good. It was being sent back to Norway from Britain, where investigators had extracted the information.

Kare Halvorsen of the Norwegian agency said the information so far does not indicate a problem on board, but acknowledged that investigators were aware of “videos on the Internet” that seemed to show a helicopter rotor that was propelled through the air immediately before the crash on a tiny island near the city of Bergen.

Halvorsen, who heads the board’s aviation department, said it was too early to say what caused the accident.

“We don’t want to speculate about anything yet,” he said. “We are in the process of gathering the information.”

The victims – 11 Norwegians, one Briton and one Italian – were aboard the Airbus EC-225 helicopter that was flying from an offshore rig in the North Sea to Bergen when it crashed Friday on the island of Turoey.

The National Criminal Investigation Service in Oslo said Monday it had identified all the victims. Police in western Norway released the names of seven victims but said the families of the remaining six did not want to their names released. Their ages ranged between 32 and 60, and they worked for several oil and gas companies.

After the accident, Norway’s aviation agency banned such Airbus helicopters from flying in Norway or near Norwegian offshore facilities and Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority grounded all commercial passenger flights using the Airbus EC-225LP helicopter except for search-and-rescue operations.

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