Aviation safety investigations & reports

Technical assistance to the Department of Civil Aviation, Malaysia. Collision with terrain involving an S-76 Helicopter, 9M-STE, 12 December 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


On 12 December 2013, a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter, registered 9M-STE, collided with the sea during bad weather off the Bintulu coast, Malaysia.  Both pilots and six oil platform workers were rescued. An investigation into the circumstances of the accident is being conducted by the Malaysian Air Accident Investigation Board (MAAIB).

The MAAIB requested assistance from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in the download and analysis of the helicopter’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR).

To facilitate this support and to provide the appropriate protections for the CVR information, the ATSB appointed an accredited representative in accordance with paragraph 5.23 of ICAO Annex 13 and commenced an investigation under the Australian Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

The CVR unit from the accident helicopter, a Universal Avionics Systems Corporation model CVR-30A, was brought to the ATSB’s Canberra technical facilities by two Malaysian air safety investigators on 20 May 2014. Subsequent disassembly showed evidence of water ingress into the recorder’s crash-protected module. Following cleaning and drying, a download in accordance with the CVR manufacturer’s specifications, was attempted. However the download was unsuccessful.

Following a dialogue with the CVR manufacturer a supplementary procedure for the data recovery was developed and agreed to by all parties. The supplementary procedure involved removal and download of all 66 memory devices from the module that was involved in the accident. The data from each device was then written to new memory devices, which were then mounted on a new memory module.

A full download of the recorded CVR information was made on the 14 October 2014 and the MAAIB was immediately advised of the successful recovery of the information. The digital audio files relating to each of the four channels were then provided to the MAAIB via secure file transfer.

The MAAIB is responsible for releasing the final investigation report regarding this accident.

The MAAIB can be contacted via: www.mot.gov.my/en/aviation/air-incident-investigation

General details
Date: 12 December 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 07:45 LT   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): off Bintulu coast - Malaysia    
State: International   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 12 April 2017   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Unknown  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft  
Aircraft model S-76C  
Aircraft registration 9M-STE  
Serial number 760398  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Last update 14 November 2018