• STV
  • MySTV

Pilot's fiancee: Clutha report 'does no justice' to victims

An FAI found the 2013 crash, which killed 10 people, was caused by pilot error.

Victims: Three crew members and seven Clutha customers died.
Victims: Three crew members and seven Clutha customers died.

The inquiry report into the helicopter crash that killed 10 people in Glasgow does no justice to the memories of the victims, according to the pilot's fiancee.

David Traill was one of three crew members who died along with seven customers when the Police Scotland aircraft fell on to the roof of the Clutha bar on November 29, 2013.

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the crash concluded it was caused by the captain's failure to ensure at least one of the fuel transfer pump switches was set to on.

In a statement nearly a week after the inquiry's findings, Mr Traill's fiancee Dr Lucy Thomas broke her silence to criticise the decision of Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull.

Dr Thomas said she had been compelled to respond after feeling "overwhelmed by the support that I have received" and accused Mr Turnbull of "opting to sully" Mr Traill's reputation.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1441975-pilot-error-to-blame-for-fatal-clutha-helicopter-crash/ | default

She said: "In my opinion, the sheriff principal's determination does no justice to the memories of Gary Arthur, Tony Collins, Joe Cusker, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, John McGarrigle, Samuel McGhee, Kirsty Nelis, Mark O'Prey, and to the memory and reputation of Dave Traill.

"It insults the intelligence of those who know of the evidence presented at the inquiry and are aware of the content of the initial AAIB report.

"Disbelief has been expressed by many family members of those who died and by members of the public at the conclusion drawn by Sheriff Principal Turnbull, who incredulously stated that Dave consciously took risks which caused the accident.

"This expression of disbelief speaks volumes and means much more to me than the opinion of the sheriff principal.

"I find it distressing and incomprehensible that given months, not moments, to consider the facts, the sheriff principal has come to this conclusion."

'The sheriff principal has opted to sully the distinguished reputation of a pilot with an exemplary record who was renowned for his sense of responsibility and his regard for the safety of his crew.'
Dr Lucy Thomas

Dr Thomas added: "He chose not to concentrate on the fact that the EC135 model of helicopter has a history of faults with the caution advisory display, specifically a history of erroneous or spurious fuel indications, amongst other technical problems such as contamination of the fuel tanks, issues still never fully resolved by the manufacturer.

"Instead, the sheriff principal has opted to sully the distinguished reputation of a pilot with an exemplary record who was renowned for his sense of responsibility and his regard for the safety of his crew.

"The opportunity for closure and maybe some peace for so many people has been denied."

More than 100 people were at the pub when the helicopter crashed as it was returning to its base on the banks of the River Clyde.

The inquiry concluded the crash happened after the helicopter's engines flamed out sequentially while it was airborne, as a result of fuel starvation due to depletion of the contents of the supply tank.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1441994-bar-manager-says-clutha-wall-saved-his-life-during-crash/ | default

In his determination, Mr Turnbull said the incident could have been prevented if the pilot had followed emergency procedures relating to low fuel warnings.

Dr Thomas said: "It is my understanding that due to misleading information from the aircraft fuel gauge and display system, Dave had only moments to make decisions and carry out tasks in an attempt to respond to this issue.

"It is also my understanding that he should have had a significantly longer timescale in which to do so before the helicopter would lose both engines.

"The manufacturer's aircraft maintenance manual incorrectly recorded that the flameout time between engines was three to four minutes. This was incorrect information.

"The correct time available should have been in excess of one minute but due to the design of the fuel tanks allowing for fuel from one tank to slop over into another, he had only 32 seconds.

"That 32 seconds ended in tragedy and the loss of his and nine other valuable lives.

"This has devastated the lives of all who surround them and impacted on so many more."

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1441983-clutha-owner-fai-does-not-bring-closure-six-years-on/ | default

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.