Glasgow & West Scotland

Clutha inquiry to start with minute's silence and tributes to victims

Helicopter crashed into The Clutha Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The police helicopter crashed into The Clutha roof on 29 November 2013

A minute's silence will mark the beginning of the fatal accident inquiry into the Clutha helicopter crash.

Personal statements about some of the victims will then be read aloud when the inquiry begins on Monday.

Ten people died and 31 others were injured when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed into the Glasgow bar on November 29, 2013.

Senior counsel Sean Smith said that the statements would be "moving and fitting" tributes to the victims.

Mr Smith added: "Providing a statement encapsulating in a few sentences someone that they loved is a difficult matter.

"Some family members may wish to keep such matters personal.

"Where representatives have provided statements, the Crown is confident this will provide a moving and fitting tribute to the deceased."

Image caption Families have waited over five years for an FAI to be held

Sheriff principal Craig Turnbull, who will oversee proceedings, confirmed a minute's silence will be held at the start of the inquiry in memory of those who died.

Words will then be read on behalf of victims Gary Arthur, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Colin Gibson, while John McGarrigle's son is also expected to provide one.

There will be no personal statements on behalf of pilot David Traill and crew Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis. Relatives of Joe Cusker have not indicated whether they wish to provide one.

Image caption (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

Jonathan Brodie QC, representing the family of Mark O'Prey, said they were still considering the matter.

He said they were unlikely to have a statement ready when the inquiry starts on Monday, but that one might become available later.

He continued: "Both Mr O'Prey and his wife have found this very difficult. The parents have so far just not found it something that they are able to do.

"I think it's something that they would wish to do."

More than 100 people were at the Clutha Vaults pub when the helicopter, returning to its base on the banks of the River Clyde, crashed through the roof.

The inquiry is expected to hear about three months' worth of evidence, spread over a period of six months.

The first four weeks of evidence will involve witnesses from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Airbus.

Clutha timeline

29 November 2013: Police helicopter crashes on Clutha bar in Glasgow killing 10 people.

9 December 2013: AAIB preliminary report finds there was 95 litres of fuel onboard the aircraft.

14 February 2014: AAIB special report finds both engines "flamed out". One of the fuel tanks was empty, while a second contained 0.4 litres. A third contained 75 litres, but transfer pumps to take this fuel to the other two engine tanks were switched off.

23 October 2015: AAIB final report finds main cause of accident to be mismanagement of the fuel system by the pilot.

24 November 2017: Fatal accident inquiry announced.

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