Recent crashes put focus on rides to oil rigs

HOUSTON (AP) - The push is on for more safety technology on helicopter flights that provide the main source of transportation for crews trying to get to their jobs on oil platforms off the shores of Texas and Louisiana.

But the Houston Chronicle is reporting that while progress has been made on some recommendations, little action has been taken on others.

The newspaper said its review of National Transportation Safety Board records shows helicopters carrying oil platform workers have crashed 11 times in the past five years, killing 38 people.

The causes for the crashes vary but include flying too low or running out of fuel.

The Federal Aviation Administration has started installing hardware needed to track flights in the Gulf. The satellite-based technology is expected to provide better information on their location and the weather conditions. Most helicopter and platform operators have agreed to participate in the transition, and air traffic controllers are expected to begin directing traffic with the equipment late this year.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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