Inquiry ordered into 2013 Shetland helicopter crash

12 June 2019, 13:39 | Updated: 12 June 2019, 13:43

Shetland helicopter Super Puma crash

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) is to be held into a helicopter crash which claimed four lives in 2013.

George Allison, Sarah Darnley, Duncan Munro and Gary McCrossan died and 14 others were rescued when the Super Puma aircraft crashed two miles from Sumburgh Airport on Shetland.

The helicopter was transferring oil workers at the time.

Evidence has been considered by the Crown Office and it said the investigation has now "reached a significant stage".

A date and venue for the FAI are yet to be announced.

A statement from the Crown Office said: "The investigation into the helicopter crash off Sumburgh in Shetland in August 2013 that resulted in the loss of four lives has reached a significant stage.

"Crown counsel have instructed that a fatal accident inquiry be held into the deaths of Duncan Munro, Sarah Darnley, Gary McCrossan and George Allison, who were passengers being transported from North Sea oil and gas platforms to the mainland.

"In coming to this decision, Crown counsel have considered the available evidence, the recommendations of the COPFS (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service) helicopter incidents investigation team, and expert opinion.

"The investigation by the police, with officers working closely with the COPFS helicopter team, has been complex and challenging. COPFS will now work closely with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to make suitable arrangements for holding the inquiry.

"COPFS will continue to keep the relatives of the deceased informed of significant developments."

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has made repeated calls for an inquiry to be held into the crash.

He said: "I am very pleased that the uncertainty is now over. It has taken too long for a FAI to be confirmed.

"Families who lost love ones have had to live under this cloud for too many years. But at least now the inquiry can find out what happened and why.

"The families of the bereaved deserve answers and that will now finally happen.

"On the wider point about the length of time since the helicopter crash and the loss of life, I want the Government to consider reforms to the process to speed this up.

"This has simply taken too long."

Mick Cash General Secretary of offshore workers union RMT said: "The time that has elapsed since this event illustrates that the process for considering prosecution and conducting inquiries is broken.

" We need an overhaul of the judicial processes in order to avoid this kind of delay.

"This Inquiry will quite obviously be difficult for the families of those lost, including the loved ones of our member Sarah Darnley who was killed in this tragedy.

"It will be traumatic for those who survived as they will have to go through all of those harrowing events again. It will also resurrect the whole issue of helicopter safety generally for the entire offshore workforce.

"We would therefore suggest the Public Inquiry we have long lobbied for around the potential impact of commercial pressures on helicopter operations, which the Transport Select Committee recommended should be held in 2014, should be staged now."