Clutha helicopter crash answers ‘within days’

The AAIB report into the Clutha helicopter crash is expected to be punblished this week. Picture: PAThe AAIB report into the Clutha helicopter crash is expected to be punblished this week. Picture: PA
The AAIB report into the Clutha helicopter crash is expected to be punblished this week. Picture: PA
LAWYERS representing families of those killed and injured in the Clutha helicopter crash have said they hope “answers will finally be provided” this week, as accident investigators are expected to reveal their findings.

Ten people died and many more were injured when a police helicopter crashed on to the roof of the Glasgow pub on November 29, 2013.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in an interim report published last year that both engines on the aircraft failed, but the cause was not outlined.

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The report said the engines had “flamed out” before the helicopter crashed into the packed bar at 10.22pm, killing the pilot and two police constables on board as well as seven people in the pub.

The AAIB is understood to be holding meetings with those affected by the tragedy this week to discuss the findings in its final report ahead of its public release.

David Bell, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell Scotland, who is acting for 17 people including injured victims and the families of those who died, said: “All of those we represent have faced an incredibly difficult two years, waiting for any form of information on how this terrible incident came to occur.

“The effect of this wait cannot be underestimated, as many have simply been unable to move on or come to terms with the incident as a result of the long silence on this matter.

“We truly hope that this week will mark the end of this difficult period and help all of those affected to gain an understanding of what happened on that terrible evening.”

Those who were in the helicopter - pilot David Traill, who was attached to Police Scotland’s air support unit, and police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis - were killed when the helicopter crashed into the building.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O’Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins and Samuel McGhee. Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but died in hospital.

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and partner in Irwin Mitchell’s aviation law team, said: “There are many questions which still need to be answered following the tragedy at the Clutha Vaults. The central question is what caused both engines of a modern helicopter to flame out.

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“Many of our clients are desperate to know the answer to that question after a long and painful wait.

“Had the helicopter been fitted with the black box equipment, the answer to this crucial question may have been known and published by the AAIB at a much earlier stage.

“We hope that the meetings between the AAIB and the victims this week and the publication of the final accident report will identify the full chain of events that led to this tragedy.

“With the benefit of the AAIB’s findings, we hope that steps will be taken to improve helicopter safety and prevent a similar tragedy in the future.”