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Clutha pub helicopter crash inquiry set to open in Glasgow

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The police helicopter crashed into The Clutha roof on 29 November 2013
A fatal accident inquiry into the Clutha helicopter crash is set to get under way.Ten people died and 31 others were injured in the tragedy in Glasgow city centre on 29 November 2013. The opening remarks of Sheriff principal Craig Turnbull at Hampden Park will be followed by a minute's silence.The Crown said "moving and fitting" personal statements about some of the victims will then be read aloud.The FAI will hear tributes to Gary Arthur, 48; Robert Jenkins, 61; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Colin Gibson, 33.
The son of John McGarrigle, 57, is also expected to provide one.
(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
Relatives of Joe Cusker, 59, have not indicated whether they wish to submit a statement.The family of Mark O'Prey, 44, last week said they were still considering the matter.There will be no personal statements on behalf of pilot David Traill, 51, and crew Tony Collins, 43, and Kirsty Nelis, 36.
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Looking ahead to the inquiry, Mark O'Prey's father, Ian, told BBC Scotland: "The only thing I can hope is that we will get some semblance of truth because we have had nothing like the truth."If we get the truth I will settle for the truth but I am not expecting any miracles whatsoever."
Ian O'Prey lost his son Mark, 44, in the tragedy
Mr O'Prey described his son, who was judo black belt, as a "jolly green giant".He added: "He just loved coming to The Clutha."I used to come down with him and my wife and the whole family used to come down to The Clutha for the music nights."In fact on the day my son came down here he said 'Why don't you come down, Dad
Mary Kavanagh last saw her partner, Robert Jenkins, when he went to the bar to buy her a drink
Mary Kavanagh's partner, Robert Jenkins was the oldest victim.She said: "Ultimately I hope that we get answers as to why our loved ones died that night."That is the main hope and I hope that at the end of it there is some closure for everyone."Ms Kavanagh was in The Clutha on the night of the disaster and last saw Mr Jenkins as he went to the bar to buy her a cranberry juice.She recalled: "He had only been gone a few minutes when there was a loud thud and it was as if the whole roof came in."The whole place was dark and filled with dust."Within minutes somebody had got a door open and I was able to hold onto somebody's jacket and get out."It was about five or ten minutes before I realised Robert was not coming out."Ms Kavanagh described her partner as "a gentleman in every sense of the word".
Bar owner Alan Crossan set up The Clutha Trust charity in the wake of the disaster
Clutha owner Alan Crossan said the tragedy has cast a "constant shadow".He said: "I don't think we will get all the answers, I don't think that will ever happen, but what we may do is get some of them."More than 100 people were in the bar when the Police Scotland helicopter crashed through the roof at 22:22.The Eurocopter EC 135, operated by Bond Air Services, had been returning to its base on the banks of the River Clyde.
What is a Fatal Accident Inquiry?A Fatal Accident Inquiry is a public hearing held under Scots Law to investigate the circumstances of a death in Scotland. Unlike a criminal trial or a civil case, the purpose of the FAI is to determine the cause of the death, to establish if the death could have been prevented and to enable the presiding sheriff to make any recommendations that he considers appropriate under the FAI legislation
The process is inquisitorial and not adversarial.It is not the purpose of a FAI to apportion blame or find someone responsible for the death.The Crown has responsibility for calling witnesses and leading evidence at an FAI, although, as in this case other participants may also be represented and question witnesses. There is provision under the FAI legislation for other participants also to lead evidence At the end of an FAI, the Sheriff will make a determination which will include making improvements to any system of working and the taking of any other steps which might realistically prevent other deaths in similar circumstances.
The inquiry, which is being held in a temporary court at the home of Scottish football, will not sit every day and is expected to hear about three months' worth of evidence between now and August.The first four weeks will involve eyewitnesses and representatives of the the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Airbus.The witness list does not include any emergency services personnel who responded to the disaster.
Families have waited more than five years for an FAI to be held
It is understood that the evidence of police, fire and ambulance personnel has been accepted by all those participating in the inquiry which means it will be presented in written documents.In October 2015 a report from the AAIB concluded the pilot did not follow emergency protocol and flew on despite low fuel warnings.It also found fuel transfer pumps were turned off and a controlled landing was not achieved for "unknown reasons".And it recommended all police helicopters be equipped with black box flight recording equipment.Police took more than 2,000 statements and more than 1,400 productions have been assembled for the FAI. The Crown's dedicated Helicopter Incident Investigation Team also commissioned an interactive model of the EC 135's fuel system.
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.
Glasgow
Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Clutha crash inquiry
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