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Helicopter's controlled ditching off Abu Dhabi Coast

Posted 9 May 2017 · Add Comment

An AgustaWestland 139 helicopter, operated by Abu Dhabi Aviation, conducted a controlled ditching off the coast of Mubarras Island, Abu Dhabi, at the end of April.

The helicopter was transporting oil industry workers and had departed Abu Dhabi International Airport at approximately 1205 UAE local time with two flight crewmembers and five passengers onboard. The first flight was uneventful and the helicopter landed at 1231 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 which was approximately 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. A ‘Mayday’ call was made on the emergency radio frequency. 

Both crewmembers and the passenger escaped from the helicopter uninjured and entered the emergency raft. The helicopter completely immersed in water but the floatation devices kept the helicopter 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 and transported to Abu Dhabi. The recorder’s data have been successfully downloaded and are being analyzed by the investigation team for the purpose of determining the cause of the accident. 

H.E Saif Mohamed Al Suwaidi, Director General of 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 (AAIS), added: “We will be working closely with the manufacturer and relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and to prevent reoccurrence.”


According to the international standards contained in Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the GCAA, represented by the AAIS, will lead the investigation into the accident. The Italian investigation authority (ANSV) was notified about the accident and was entitled to appoint accredited representative to participate in the investigation as Italy is the State of Design and Manufacture of the helicopter. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have been notified also as of being the organization responsible for the continuing airworthiness of the aircraft. Experts from the helicopter manufacturer and the operator are appointed advisors to the UAE investigator-in-charge (IIC) and the accredited representative.


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