Clutha Victims Remembered A Year On

29 November 2014, 08:17 | Updated: 29 November 2014, 08:22

A service will be held at Glasgow Cathedral today to mark the first anniversary of the Clutha helicopter crash.

Ten people lost their lives and many more were injured when the police helicopter, a Eurocopter EC135, crashed on to the roof of the Clutha pub on November 29 last year.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the ecumenical service this afternoon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Bernard Higgins, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, and Reverend Gordon Armstrong, Chaplain of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, are among those expected to contribute.

Dr Neil Dignon, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and several church leaders are also due to speak.

November 29 was, for a time, a Friday night like any other at the bar in Stockwell Street.

Ska band Esperanza was playing and more than 100 people had packed into the popular Clydeside venue to see them perform.

Then, at about 10.25pm, disaster struck. The Police Scotland helicopter which had been flying overhead dropped ''like a stone'' through the single-storey building after both engines failed.

Pilot David Traill and his passengers, police officers Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins, lost their lives.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins and Samuel McGhee. Some 32 people were taken initially to hospitals across the city.

Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but later died in hospital.

The cathedral service is among a number of events taking place this weekend to mark the tragedy.

Last night hundreds of people attended a benefit concert at the Barrowlands in Glasgow to launch the Clutha Trust, which aims to help disadvantaged young people.

Performers included Sandi Thom, Carly Connor and the Mickey 9s.

Ska band Bombskare was also on the line-up, along with Girobabies, Horse and Scheme Party.

Scott McCafferty, of Bombskare, said they were friends of Esperanza.

He said: ''The concert is a great idea, to raise money for the Clutha Trust which is hopefully going to do a lot of good for young musicians so we're well up for that. Anything that can promote that is a good thing for us, we're happy to be involved in that.''

He added: ''It's important to remember what happened. It's important to remember those who were lost. It's very hard to try and make sense of something that's as tragic as that.''

Today police officers will face firefighters in a commemorative charity ice hockey match at Braehead Arena.

The final report into the crash is expected to be published by the middle of next year, air accident investigators have said.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) yesterday said that the helicopter was "not fitted and not required to be fitted with crash-protected flight data or cockpit voice recorders, and its systems did not provide for the continuous recording of operational parameters'' and that as a result, "significant work was required to extract and analyse the contents of non-volatile memory (NVM) from micro-chipped equipment known to record data.''

It said that this, together with further examination of the aircraft and subsequent tests, has now been completed to the extent that the investigation team may reach its conclusions.

The crash was, undoubtedly, one of Glasgow's darkest hours. But in the midst of the heartache, the city's renowned spirit came to the fore.

People ran, not away from the situation, but to see if they could try to help others. Crash survivors and others on the scene had formed a human chain to help pass unconscious people out of the pub.

The emergency services were praised for their ''exemplary response'' to the major incident.

Pub owner Alan Crossan described the events of last year as ''shocking'' and said he still struggles to get his head around the reality of what happened.

He said: ''I'm going to continue with the Clutha Trust and we'll always remember these people (who lost their lives).

''Hopefully we can make the charity as big as we can and that will be remembered as a legacy to the people who died. That may be a memorial in itself.''

Describing the Clutha as ''a pub of music'', he told how musicians have managed to raise over £500,000 since the crash to help the families touched by the tragedy.

Establishing the trust was a way of channelling that positive energy, he said.