Glasgow & West Scotland

Clutha anniversary: Church service remembers crash dead

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Media captionPhilip Tartaglia, the Archbishop of Glasgow, addressed the congregation

A service has been held in Glasgow to mark the first anniversary of the Clutha helicopter crash in which 10 people died.

Families and friends of those who died were among hundreds attending the service at Glasgow Cathedral.

They were joined by survivors of the crash, representatives of the emergency services and civic leaders.

The Police Scotland helicopter crashed onto the Clutha bar at 22:25 on 29 November 2013.

The crash killed pilot David Traill and PCs Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis, who were on board the Eurocopter EC 135.

Investigation ongoing

Mr Traill, who worked for Bond Air Services, was attached to the Police Scotland air support unit.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, and Samuel McGhee. Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but later died in hospital.

Image caption Clutha victims: (Top: left to right) David Traill; PC Kirsty Nelis; PC Tony Collins; Gary Arthur; Samuel McGhee (Bottom: left to right) Colin Gibson; Robert Jenkins; Mark O'Prey; John McGarrigle; Joe Cusker

Audience members stood as one as members of the mourning families lit candles in memory of their loved ones.

Organised by the ecumenical group, Glasgow Churches Together, the service was led by the minister of the cathedral, Rev Dr Laurence Whitley.

Philip Tartaglia, the Archbishop of Glasgow, read a homily in which he said the victims of the crash "have never been forgotten, especially not by those who love them most and who miss them most sorely".

He added: "I can never pass by the Clutha Vaults without remembering them and recalling what happened, and whispering a 'Hail Mary' for the dead, injured and bereaved."

'More compassionate'

"Out of this tragedy we are called to be better, more compassionate, more understanding human beings," Archbishop Tartaglia said.

"And I would hope that we could turn that memory into a legacy, a legacy which would honour the victims of the Clutha Vaults tragedy, so that we can say once and for all that their deaths contributed to Glasgow and Scotland becoming a better place for everyone."

Among those attending were First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who led the congregation in prayer and read from Letter to the Ephesians from the New Testament.

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins read from the Book of Revelation, while Glasgow's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty also gave a reading and a welcome at the service.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Ten people died after a police helicopter crashed onto the crowded Clutha pub
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Floral tributes to those who died have been left outside the pub, which is owned by Alan Crossan (pictured)

She said: "On the anniversary of this black day in Glasgow's history, a day that is indelibly etched on all our hearts, we join together for comfort and to pay our respects.

"So, on this day, for those most directly and intimately affected, those enduring pain and a life with loss, we wish you strength."

The service is one of a number of events being held to mark the first anniversary of the crash.

Also on Saturday, police officers will face firefighters in a commemorative charity ice hockey match at Braehead Arena.

Benefit concert

On Friday night, a benefit concert was held at the Barrowland in Glasgow to launch a charity in memory of those who died in the Clutha crash.

Scots singer Sandi Thom was among the acts at the gig which launched the Clutha Trust, which aims to help disadvantaged young people.

On Friday, the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) announced that it was ready to "reach its conclusions" about the cause of the tragedy.

Investigators said in their latest update that they still needed several weeks to draft the final report which should be ready by early 2015 with full publication due by the middle of next year.

A preliminary accident report by AAIB earlier this year found that both engines on the aircraft failed but did not point to an exact cause of the crash.

Investigators have been working to establish why both engines "flamed out" when there was 76kg of fuel remaining.

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