Clutha helicopter crash: Pilot ‘will be cleared of blame’ in accident probe

Captain David Traill will likely be cleared of all blame in the FAI. Picture: PA
Captain David Traill will likely be cleared of all blame in the FAI. Picture: PA
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The pilot of the helicopter that crashed into a Glasgow pub in November 2013 will likely be cleared of all blame for the tragedy, according to an expert.

Former RAF pilot David Traill, 51, was at the controls of the police helicopter which hit the Clutha Vaults on the banks of the River Clyde on November 29 2013, killing ten and injuring 31.

Police officers Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis were on board the aircraft while Gary Arthur, Joe Cusker, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, John McGarrigle, Samuel McGhee and Mark O’Prey also lost their lives.

A report carried out by the Air Accidents Investigation Board (AAIB) stated that the cause of the accident was mismanagement of the fuel system by the pilot, despite the body’s preliminary report highlighting “contributory factors” to the crash, including a water leak that resulted in inaccurate fuel readings.

Former RAF engineer Jimmy Jones has told The Sun he believes the fatal accident inquiry (FAI), due to begin in April next year, will absolve Captain Traill of all blame.

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He said: “The pilot cannot be blamed, directly or indirectly, for the accident and subsequent loss of life. The fatal accident inquiry will not directly allocate blame.”

Mr Jones thinks that the FAI will instead focus on mechanical and design flaws that ultimately caused the crash.

He added: “The inquiry will determine the cause and expose fault. If that fault is related to inadequate training and poor design, that would be directed away from the pilot to others.”

Negligence could only be proven where there was “absolutely no doubt”, Mr Jones added.

The Crown Office confirmed in 2017 that an FAI would be held into the crash, and that no criminal charges would be laid.