Inquiry into Clutha pub helicopter crash set to open

8 April 2019, 07:21

Clutha Helicopter Crash

The fatal accident inquiry into a police helicopter crash which claimed 10 lives will open on Monday.

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 will be held in memory of those who died after Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull makes his opening remarks at the inquiry, which is taking place in a temporary court at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

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

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 that families can provide a statement at any point before the end of the inquiry if they so wish.

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

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.

Fifty-seven 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, which opens on April 8, is expected to involve around three months of evidence spread over six calendar months this year.