Solicitor and MSP blast ‘long wait’ for Clutha fatal accident inquiry

10 people died after a police helicopter crashed through the roof of a busy pub in Glasgow on 29 November 2013. Picture:
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
10 people died after a police helicopter crashed through the roof of a busy pub in Glasgow on 29 November 2013. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
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The solicitor representing a number of victims of the Clutha helicopter crash has criticised the length of time prosecutors have taken to announce a fatal accident inquiry.

The Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service announced yesterday that an inquiry would be held into the deaths of 10 people after a police helicopter crashed through the roof of a busy pub in Glasgow on 29 November 2013.

The inquiry is likely to start in the autumn of 2018.

More than 100 people were in the Clutha pub when the police helicopter, returning to its base on the banks of the River Clyde, crashed.

Seven customers died - John McGarrigle, Mark O’Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker.

Helicopter pilot David Traill and crew police officers Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis were also killed.

Andrew Henderson from Thompsons Solicitors, said while he welcomed the news of the inquiry, its delay was evidence Scotland’s FAI system needed overhauled.

“The whole purpose of FAIs is to make recommendations that will stop similar tragedies happening in the future and therefore the process moving forward in a timely fashion is crucial.

“The fact that the inquiry is likely to begin almost five years after this awful accident is not acceptable.”

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch 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.

Earlier this month damages were awarded to people injured in the crash and family members of those killed.

A reported £1.3 million was paid by the owners of the helicopter firm to 10 people injured, while cases brought by 16 others affected were settled for undisclosed amounts.

However, the Crown Office said if situation change and new evidence emerge, it would consider future criminal proceedings.

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP, said: “By anyone’s standards, five years is far too long to wait for answers.

“The families of victims of this tragedy deserve much better. We need to ensure future cases like this don’t involve similar delays.”