NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Super Puma fatal accident inquiry process now under way

Sarah Darnley, Gary McCrossan, Duncan Munro and George Allison
Image caption Four people died in the crash in 2013

A preliminary hearing for a fatal accident inquiry into a helicopter crash which killed four people near Shetland in 2013 is to be held in January, BBC Scotland has learned.

A total of 18 people were on board when the Super Puma crashed.

Passengers Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester, died.

The initial hearing is on 29 January.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said in a statement: "The procurator fiscal has initiated the judicial process for a fatal accident inquiry into the four deaths that resulted from the Sumburgh helicopter crash.

"COPFS appreciates the importance of this inquiry to those affected. The nearest relatives of those who lost their lives have been informed of this development.

"The Crown is working closely with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service who are responsible for scheduling all dates and the venue for the inquiry."

The initial hearing will be at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The venue and dates for any further hearings and the full FAI will be confirmed later.

Image caption There is a memorial to the crash victims in Shetland

In 2016, a report said flight instruments were "not monitored effectively" by the pilots in the moments leading up to the crash.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said a lack of monitoring meant a reduction in air speed was not noticed by the pilots.

Attempts to recover were too late.

The report also said the impact with the water had been "survivable".

It said one of the four victims had been unable to escape, one was incapacitated by a head injury, one drowned before reaching the surface, and the other died in the life raft from a chronic heart condition.

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