The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has reportedly begun investigating the controlled ditching of a helicopter off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
According to Arabian Business, the incident took place on April 29 when an AgustaWestland 139 helicopter, operated by Abu Dhabi Aviation, made a “Mayday” call with the pilot conducting a controlled ditching off the coast of Mubarras Island.
The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority said that the helicopter was transporting oil industry workers and departed Abu Dhabi International Airport at 1205 UAE local time with two flight crew members and five passengers onboard. The flight was normal with the helicopter landing at 1231 UAE local time on an oil rig, where four passengers disembarked.
After departure for the second destination, the flight crew received a warning message, accordingly the commander decided to descend to a lower altitude and divert to the nearest heliport, about seven minutes away. During the descent a mechanical noise was noticed and this, together with the warning, resulted in the decision of the commander to conduct a controlled ditching.
The crew members and the passenger escaped from the helicopter uninjured and entered the emergency raft. The helicopter completely immersed in water, but the floatation devices kept it at the surface until it was recovered.
The three occupants were rescued by the UAE coastguard and a precautionary medical check was performed.
The helicopter and the flight recorder were recovered. The recorder’s data has been successfully downloaded and is being analysed by the investigation team.
Saif Mohamed Al Suwaidi, director general, GCAA said: “Any air accident requires rapid investigation. In this instance the crew and passengers escaped uninjured so the priority now is to support the investigation to find out the reasons behind the unfortunate event.”
Ismaeil Mohammed Al Hosani, assistant director general for air accident investigation sector, added: “We will be working closely with the manufacturer and relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and to prevent reoccurrence.”