Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico claim 139 lives in helicopter crashes

13.09.2011
Mechanical failure most common cause

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy finds that helicopters that service the drilling platforms and vessels in the Gulf of Mexico crash on average more than six times per year resulting in an average of 5 deaths per year.

From 1983 to 2009, 178 crashes resulted in 139 deaths, including 41 pilots and 3 co-pilots. Mechanical failure was the most common cause, leading to 68 crashes (38 percent of the total), followed by bad weather (16 percent of the total). While the challenges such as bad weather and long travel distances associated with helicopter flights in the Gulf related to oil and gas operations are recognized, this study is noteworthy for examining the circumstances of the crashes. The article is published in the September issue of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined fatal and nonfatal crash records of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from 1983 to 2009. Analyses determined that the most common result of mechanical failure in both fatal and nonfatal crashes was loss of engine power, which occurred in almost one-third of fatal crashes. The majority of forced landings following mechanical failure occurred in water, with 20 percent resulting in the sinking of the helicopter despite the fact that most helicopters are being equipped with pilot-activated flotation devices.

Bad weather was the second most common precipitating factor for fatal and nonfatal crashes and was responsible for the largest number of deaths. In fact, bad weather was the only factor that significantly increased the risk of pilot death when a crash occurred. Pilot error was a major contributor to 83 crashes (47 percent), with poor decision-making the most prevalent error. For example, the NTSB conclusion for many of the bad-weather crashes was that the pilot should not proceeded in given the forecast or observed bad weather.

"This study raises concern about the safety of helicopter flights related to oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly during bad weather," said Susan P. Baker, MPH, professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the paper's lead author. "Our findings suggest that efforts to reduce crashes and deaths must address mechanical failure, non-activation of flotation devices, and pilot error." Baker is a licensed private pilot and received the Aerospace Medical Association's Harry G. Moseley Award in 2010 for her work applying the public health model to aviation safety.

The researchers also examined crash trends over the study time period and found an increase in the most recent time period, 8.2 annually during 2000 to 2009 versus 5.6 during 1983 to 1999. Following 2007, however, the researchers measured a decrease in crashes.

"While the apparent deterioration in safety over time is alarming, I am encouraged by the most recent data," said Baker. "Only time will tell whether this is a temporary statistical blip or the beginning of a positive trend."

Additional authors of "Helicopter Crashes Related to Oil and Gas Operations in the Gulf of Mexico" are Dennis F. Shanahan (associate faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy), Wren Haaland (consultant to the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy), Joanne Brady (Columbia University) and Guohua Li (Columbia University).

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Tim Parsons | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhsph.edu

Further reports about: Gulf of Maine region NTSB fatal crashes health services mechanical

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>