A March 24, 2011 offshore helicopter crash is now believed to be caused by methane gas. Methane gas is discharged from oil platforms as a regular exhaust by product. Methane gas has been linked to a number of offshore crashes of helicopters in recent years. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board has gone on record as saying methane gas was the cause of this particular offshore crash.
This offshore crash occurred at an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on March 24, 2011. The helicopter was a Bell 206-L3 that was lifting off from the MP61A platform at 4:55 p.m. The National Transportation Safety Board believes the helicopter experienced a power failure that led to an engine compressor stall after the craft ingested methane gas during its takeoff.
As a result, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued several recommendations last month that call for the American Petroleum Institute about methane gas discharge from oil platforms.
The helicopter pilot has stated that he believes he cleared all obstacles during his takeoff when he heard a loud bang when he passed above the structure and immediately noticed an increase in torque and and an increase in the temperature of the turbine outlet before the he lost power. The helicopter pilot activated his float system and his autorotation control. Still, the helicopter rolled over upside down after impacting the water.
Thankfully, the pilot and passengers in this crash survived, although all sustained injuries even though the helicopter was completely destroyed.
The platform where the offshore crash occurred is equipped with a windsock that indicates the direction the wind is blowing, but contains no such device to detect the presence of methane gas. Methane gas originates from the flare boom on a platform. There is no device to alert helicopter pilots if the flare boom is expelling methane or if methane gas is present. In this particular case, the methane gas level on the day of the crash was determined to be 20 times higher than any other day that month.
The Lambert Firm represents victims of helicopter crashes. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a helicopter crash, call The Lambert Firm today to get the legal representation you deserve.