One of the victims was quickly brought back on board the platform and given medical treatment, but died soon afterwards. The other was reported missing and later found in 150 metres of water.
The craft involved was a conventional davit-launched lifeboat, which was meant to be lowered into the water before the hooks were released. It had not been designed to cope with a drop of 30 metres.
The accident was investigated in accordance with normal procedures by the Norwegian police, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) and an internal investigation team in Statoil.
A safety chain which had been incorrectly attached was identified as the direct cause of the drop. No faults or deficiencies were found with the lowering or release mechanisms on the davits and in the lifeboat.
However, the above-mentioned safety chain was supposed to be in place during routine maintenance. It was attached correctly at the bow but incorrectly at the stern. When the two maintenance workers released the hooks to test them, the boat seems to have fallen down stern first.
This drop and the subsequent swinging caused the bow chain to break as well, leaving the craft in free fall. The police concluded that one of the workers was inside the boat when the accident happened, with the other one standing on top of it.
Other lifeboat accidents happened on the Norwegian continental shelf in 1981, 1983 and 1985. The first two of these caused one fatality apiece.
A worker died after another lifeboat feel into the sea from LB200 while this vessel was on its way to Statfjord in 1981. Two years later, a maintenance worker on Safe Concordia was killed on the Albuskjell field.
Finally, an unoccupied lifeboat of the same type as the one involved in the 1992 accident was smashed to matchwood during testing on Statfjord C in 1985, with no loss of life. A fault in the system caused the craft to fall into the sea and break up.
NTB (Norwegian Wire Service), 7 November 1992. “Livbåt falt fra Statfjord C – En omkommet og en savnet”.
NTB, 8 November 1993. “Statfjord-livbåten til Florø for undersøkelse”.
Bergens Tidende, 9 November 1993. “Feil å kalla det ein ulukkesbåt”.
Aftenposten, 9 November 1993. “Savnet funnet druknet”.
NTB, 12 November 1993. “Feil festet kjetting årsak til Statfjordulykken”.