Sturgeon Raised Crash Probe Fears

9 February 2015, 07:13

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon raised concerns about the speed of the Glasgow helicopter crash investigation and the exchange of information between officials in a letter to the Prime Minister, it has emerged.

The SNP leader asked David Cameron to ensure the inquiry by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was concluded "as soon as possible'' to enable Scottish prosecutors to consider any criminal proceedings or the holding of a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

In the letter dated December 3 last year, Ms Sturgeon said Scotland's Solicitor General had already written to the Transport Secretary expressing her concerns about the "dearth of information flow and lack of respect and understanding of the obligations of the Crown Office and the police'' in relation to the investigation and the bereaved families.

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

An initial report said the aircraft suffered engine failure. The AAIB's final conclusions are expected to be released later this year.

The letter, and the Prime Minister's response, were published in the Sunday Mail newspaper.

The First Minister wrote: "Practically speaking, the Procurator Fiscal is unable to move on their investigations into this matter until the AAIB publishes its final report in mid 2015.

"That risks delay in any decision about criminal proceedings and the holding of a Fatal Accident Inquiry which I am sure you will agree is an unsatisfactory position.''

She added: ``I share the Solicitor General's concern and would ask you to do all you can to ensure AAIB progress their investigation as quickly as possible and that they ensure a smooth flow of information between the AAIB and the Procurator Fiscal.''

Mr Cameron said that he had received assurances from the Department for Transport and the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents that the AAIB would be "open and cooperative'' in their investigation.

In his response dated January 15, the Prime Minister wrote: "I understand that a meeting was held between the AAIB and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on 11 December 2014 which was very productive.''