Investigation of air accident in the sea near the helicopter base outside Barentsburg, Svalbard, Norway


On 26 October 2017 at 15:08 local time a Mi 8AMT helicopter crashed with 8 persons on board. The flight was from Pyramiden to the home base near Barentsburg on Svalbard (ENBA). The crew was last in contact with the air traffic services at Longyearbyen at 15:06 hours, and were then instructed to contact the helicopter base. The helicopter was reported missing at 15:30 hours to the AFIS Longyear. The helicopter was later found at 209 meters depth approximately 2 km off the coastline northeast of the helicopter base.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway has initiated an investigation supported by the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC). The recovery operation was conducted in cooperation with the Governor of Svalbard, the Police, others and Russian participants.

The helicopters body, tail, Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and GPS units was recovered 4 November. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) had been separated from the helicopter and was found severely damaged and without the memory unit one day later. Based on the condition of the recovered parts of the FDR, it was decided the following day to discontinue the special search for the memory unit. Neither the FDR nor the CRV were equipped with Underwater Location Beacons (ULB).

The CVR and the GPS-units have been transported to Moscow by the AIBN in cooperation with Russian MAK (Interstate Aviation Committee) for downloading and analysis. All audio files have been downloaded, including the one from the helicopters last flight. Frequency analysis has been performed to investigate any possible technical errors in rotating components. The analysis has not indicated that such errors were present. Only one of the two GPS units contained data from the last flight such as speed, altitude and track.

The helicopter has been transported to Hammerfest and transferred to another vessel for transportation to Stavanger, were further investigation has been conducted in cooperation with the IAC and the helicopter manufacturer.

The results from the investigation of the helicopter, CVR and GPS units have been gathered and supplied with further information from interviews, weather conditions, operative regulations, company policies and other information.

Eight persons were onboard. The helicopter was not equipped with floatation gear or life raft, but there were life jackets for the passengers. They were not used. No persons were found in the helicopter. One person has been recovered from the seabed.

Status for the investigation 01.11.2018

The Accident Ivestigation Board Norway (AIBN) and the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) with experts from the helicopter manufacturer have finalized a technical investigation of the helicopter. At this stage, there has not been any technical findings that could have lead up to the accident. At present, the helicopter is sealed off and stored in Norway. There are held meetings with involved parties in Russia. The investigation is not completed. There are still open issues that remains to be clarified.

The helicopter operator intends to install additional emergency equipment in the helicopter that operates from Barentsburg.

Morover, the AIBN refers to the premliminary report issued 1 December 2017.

Further investigation

The investigation is in its final stages.

Sealed helicoper

The helicopter has been examined and is presently sealed off. Photo: AIBN

News updates about the investigation:

Helicopter accident near Barentsburg, Svalbard: The AIBN will arrive later today 27.10.2017

Helicopter accident near Barentsburg: The AIBN boards recovery vessel 30.10.2017

Helicopter accident near Barentsburg: Update 31.10.2017

Helicopter accident near Barentsburg: The helicopter is recovered 04.11.2017

Helicopter accident near Barentsburg: The AIBN leaves the accident site 08.11.2017

Helicopter accident near Barentsburg: CVR and GPS analysis started in Moscow 09.11.2017

Latest update: 01.11.2018

Near the helicopter base outside Barentsburg, Svalbard, Norway
Occurrence date
Convers Avia Airlines JSC
Svalbard/Jan Mayen
Type of occurrence
Type of operation
Commercial, other
Category of operation
Heavy, helicopter (> 2 250kg)
Skriv ut
Reports same category of operation