Offshore InjuryBlog

Four Dead in Helicopter Crash En Route to Chevron Platform

Four people are dead and two are missing following a helicopter crash off the coast of Angola. The crash occurred after Tuesday, September 26 at 3:23 pm local time. The helicopter was heading to a Chevron oil platform off the coast of Cabinda carrying 5 passengers and the pilot. There’s roughly 50 miles of ocean between the coast of Angola and the oilfield.

Search and rescue operations have utilized 19 marine vessels and 3 helicopters. In Chevron’s statement, they clarified that one of the passengers was an employee, while the other 4 were contractors. Chevron said search crews were also on the lookout for the cockpit data recorder, offering no comment on what might have caused the helicopter crash.

Helicopter Fatality Rates

The Angola crash is the second helicopter crash in the oil industry this year. In April, a helicopter belonging to Norwegian company Statoil crashed in the Norwegian Sea with 13 people on board. Workers in the oil industry face numerous workplace-related hazards that contribute to a death rate seven times higher than all other U.S. industries. Roughly 37 percent of those deaths are the result of helicopter crashes.

In fact, transportation accidents account for more than half of fatalities in the oil industry—and 3 of 4 transportation incidents are helicopter accidents. Explosions, for perspective, only account for 13 percent of oil industry fatalities. The two chief causes for helicopter crashes are bad weather and mechanical failure.

The weather in Cabinda on September 26 at takeoff time was fairly sunny, with some broken clouds.

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