Inquiry into Clutha pub helicopter crash opens

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into a police helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 10 people has opened.

The pilot, two crew members and seven customers in the Clutha bar in Glasgow were killed when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed on to the roof of the building on November 29 2013.

A minute’s silence was held at the start of the inquiry on Monday morning in memory of those who died.

The FAI before Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull is taking place in a temporary court at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Personal statements about some of those who died are to be be read out in tribute to them.

Glasgow helicopter crash
The wreckage of the helicopter was lifted clear following the crash (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Statements will be read on behalf of customers Gary Arthur, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Colin Gibson, while John McGarrigle’s son is expected to provide one and Mark O’Prey’s family are still considering the matter.

There will be no personal statements on behalf of pilot David Traill or crew members Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis, while relatives of Joe Cusker have not indicated whether they wish to give one.

The sheriff has said families can provide a statement at any point before the end of the inquiry if they so wish.

The purpose of the FAI is to determine the cause of the deaths, establish whether they could have been prevented and enable the sheriff to make recommendations that could prevent fatalities in similar circumstances.

Hampden Park
The inquiry is taking place at Hampden Park in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

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.

An Air Accidents Investigations Branch (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 said there is insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings.

A total of 57 Crown witnesses are expected to give evidence at the inquiry, down from a previous estimate of 85.

Police have taken more than 2,000 statements as part of preparations for the FAI, while the Crown has around 1,400 productions.

The inquiry is expected to involve around three months of evidence spread over six calendar months this year.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS