Glasgow & West Scotland

AAIB ready to publish report on Clutha helicopter crash

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Media captionTen people died after a police helicopter crashed onto the crowded Clutha pub

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has said it ready to "reach its conclusions" about the cause of the Clutha helicopter crash in Glasgow.

Investigators said in their latest update that they still needed several weeks to draft the final report which should be ready by early 2015.

The Police Scotland helicopter crashed onto the busy Clutha bar on 29 November 2013, killing 10 people.

The AAIB said both engines failed but has yet to set out the cause.

The crash killed helicopter pilot David Traill and Pcs Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis, who were on board.

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.

Final report

In its update, the AAIB said it had been working closely with partner agencies across Europe and the aircraft manufacturer and operator "to establish the causes and contributory factors that led to the accident".

It said the helicopter was "not fitted and not required to be fitted with crash-protected flight data or cockpit voice recorders" and as a result "significant work was required to extract and analyse the contents of non-volatile memory from micro-chipped equipment known to record data".

The statement said: "This, together with further examination of the aircraft and subsequent tests, has now been completed, to the extent that the investigation team may reach its conclusions.

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

"Several weeks are still required to complete the draft final report and it is expected that this draft will be circulated to 'interested parties', as defined by the Regulations, for comment early in 2015.

"The final report is expected to be published in the middle of 2015."

Meanwhile, a benefit concert will be held in Glasgow later to launch a charity in memory of those who died almost a year ago in the Clutha crash.

Scots singer Sandi Thom will be among the acts at the Barrowland gig to launch the Clutha Trust, which aims to help disadvantaged young people.

'Incredible' reaction

Clutha owner Alan Crossan described the crash as "shocking" and said he still struggles to get his head around the reality of what happened.

He said it was the response of the people of Glasgow - many of whom ran towards the crash scene to help - which prompted him to establish a trust for disadvantaged children and young people by enabling them to become involved in the arts, and music in particular.

"The reaction was incredible and that's why we started the Clutha Trust," he said.

Describing the Clutha as "a pub of music", he told how musicians have managed to raise over £500,000 since the crash to help the families touched by the tragedy.

Establishing the trust was a way of channelling that positive energy, he said.

Friday's concert at the Barrowland to officially launch the trust will have performances across two stages.

Free entry is being offered to members of emergency services as a "thank you", although they are being advised get there early to ensure they can get in.

"The emergency services have been brilliant," Mr Crossan said.

He went on: "I'm going to continue with the Clutha Trust and we'll always remember these people (who lost their lives).

Trust legacy

"Hopefully we can make the charity as big as we can and that will be remembered as a legacy to the people who died. That may be a memorial in itself."

A number of events are being held across the city over the weekend to remember those who died and the loved ones they left behind.

An ecumenical memorial service will be held at Glasgow Cathedral at 15:00 on Saturday.

The same day, police officers will face firefighters in a commemorative charity ice hockey match at Braehead Arena.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said thoughts at this time of year inevitably turn to the crash victims.

He said: "It was shocking for the whole country - and particularly Glasgow.

"I was very proud of the response and the way we went about the recovery.

"There was a lot of bravery, a lot of determination during what was clearly a very upsetting situation.

"I was very proud also with the way we worked so closely with emergency service colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service, it was very humbling to see that.

"Obviously at this time of the year you can't help but think about the people who died in the tragedy."

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