Call For Quick Action Over Clutha Report

25 October 2015, 08:18

Clutha Helicopter Crash

Scottish ministers have called on the UK Government to ensure recommendations, following the Clutha tragedy, are put in place as quickly as possible.

The long-awaited Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report was published on Friday but was criticised by some of the victims' families.

It concluded that two fuel supply switches were off in the helicopter and that the pilot, capt David Traill, did not follow emergency procedures after a fuel warning in the cockpit, but the AAIB could not explain why.

The report recommended the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should require all emergency service helicopters to be fitted with ``black box'' recorders and the Scottish Government said ``any steps that could help prevent another tragedy like this one must be taken''.

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has written to UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin asking the UK Government to ``do all that is within its power to ensure that these recommendations are taken forward as quickly as possible''.

Ten people died when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha bar on the night of November 29 2013.

Those who were in the helicopter - the pilot and police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis - died along with Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker, who were enjoying a night inside the pub.

Mr Matheson said: ``While the report sets out the factual circumstances of the accident, it is disappointing that - after two years of investigation - the report does not reach a clearer conclusion and raises more questions than it answers.

''Scottish ministers share the profound disappointment of the families that it does not provide the closure they sought.

''The report makes a number of recommendations including requiring all police and emergency medical helicopters currently in use to be fitted with equipment to record data, audio and images with flight recorders fitted in aircraft certified after January 1 2018.

''These 'black boxes' can be vital in establishing all the circumstances and actions leading to a crash.

''I appreciate that these are recommendations made to the European Aviation Safety Agency as the legislative authority and the CAA as the UK regulator.

''However, on behalf of the families who lost loved ones in the crash, I would seek reassurance that the UK Government will now do all that is within its power to ensure that these recommendations are taken forward as quickly as possible.

''Any steps that could help prevent another tragedy like this one must be taken.''

When the Clutha report was published, the CAA issued a statement which said it assisted the AAIB with its investigation and was ''studying the report and its recommendations''.

Mr McLoughlin offered his sympathies to the family and friends of those killed in the crash.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) said it supports safety improvements and is looking into new light weight data recorders.

He said: ``We support all appropriate safety improvements such as those associated with data recorders and work closely with international partners and industry to implement any beneficial changes that can be made.

''We are currently reviewing the AAIB recommendations made following this tragic accident. Recent technological advances mean that some newer light weight flight recording devices are now available and we will study these and all other options.''

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