Clutha inquiry confirmed to begin in April

A fatal accident inquiry into the Clutha helicopter crash which claimed 10 lives will begin in April, it has been confirmed.

Seven customers, the pilot and two officers onboard were killed when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed on to the roof of the Glasgow pub on November 29, 2013.

The latest preliminary hearing was told the full fatal accident inquiry (FAI) will begin on April 8 2019 at Hampden Park.

Family members, Police Scotland, Airbus Helicopters and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) are among those represented at the inquiry.

Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, who is overseeing the FAI, said 17 parties are currently participating in the inquiry which will sit until at least into August with a series of adjournments due to events at Hampden Park.

Lawyers representing some of the victims’ families said their participation could be “limited due to funding” with Legal Aid applications in process.

Sheriff Turnbull set a further preliminary hearing in January for updates on the Legal Aid issue.

Glasgow helicopter crash report
Glasgow helicopter crash report

Roddy Dunlop QC, representing Airbus Helicopters, said a video simulation of the helicopter flight should be completed in January and will form part of the FAI, while Senior Counsel Sean Smith QC, who is leading the inquiry, said the Crown was working to “whittle down” the potential witness list before April.

Asked for an estimate of how many people will give evidence, he said: “I’m not able to advise even in broad terms at this stage.

“What I can say is having drafted what witnesses and documents might be led in the inquiry, the next most important task is to whittle down that down even further.”

More than 100 people were at the Clutha Vaults pub when the helicopter, returning to its base on the banks of the River Clyde, crashed through the roof.

Pub customers John McGarrigle, Mark O’Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker died, while pilot David Traill and crew Pc Tony Collins and Pc Kirsty Nelis were also killed.

An AAIB report published in 2015 found two fuel supply switches were off and the pilot did not follow emergency procedures after a fuel warning in the cockpit.

The Crown Office has previously stated there is insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings.