Glasgow & West Scotland

Clutha tragedy: Helicopter maintenance manual error amended

Helicopter removed from Clutha bar
Image caption The police helicopter crashed on to the Clutha bar on 29 November 2013, killing 10 people

The manufacturer of the helicopter that crashed into Glasgow's Clutha bar is updating its maintenance manual after a report into the tragedy found an error.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report found there were 32 seconds between the first and second engines "flaming out".

The manual for the Eurocopter EC135, made by Airbus Helicopters, states the time should be "three to four minutes".

Ten people died when the helicopter crashed on 29 November 2013.

A spokesman for Airbus Helicopters said the error was contained in the maintenance manual for the helicopter and not the flight operating manual used by pilots.

'Emergency protocol'

He said: "Airbus Helicopters is updating its AMM maintenance manual to provide more accurate information in the next revised edition.

"The pilot's flight manual, which is the authorities'-approved documentation, does not rely on this mechanism for flight operations.

"Standard emergency procedure ensures that, when followed, the aircraft is on the ground long before double flameout occurs."

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

The AAIB report published last week found pilot David Traill did not follow emergency protocol and flew on despite low fuel warnings on the night of the crash.

Fuel supply switches were turned off, and low fuel warnings were triggered and acknowledged five times during the flight, the report found.

Guidelines say Mr Traill should have landed within 10 minutes of the first warning, but did not.

Investigators added that the pilot did not complete the emergency shutdown checklist following the first engine failure. The second engine failed 32 seconds later.

'Veiled allegation'

Mr Traill, who was attached to Police Scotland's air support unit, was a highly experienced former RAF and training pilot with more than 5,500 flying hours in helicopters.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Trail's sister Evelyn Holmes Mitchell said the "veiled allegation" that her brother caused the crash was "totally unacceptable".

She wrote: "David would not only have done everything in his power to save his companions and others but had the years of flying and teaching to make sure such a thing would not happen.

"It would break my heart to allow them to sully his memory and make this doubt his legacy to his nephews, niece and broader family."

Along with Mr Traill, police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis were killed when the helicopter crashed into the Clutha bar.

Those inside the pub who were killed were Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker.

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