• STV
  • MySTV

Clutha crash helicopter pilot 'trusted implicitly' by crew

The widowers of Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins have spoken out after the fatal accident enquiry.

Clutha: Ten were killed in the crash
Clutha: Ten were killed in the crash

The widower of a police officer killed after a force helicopter crashed into the Clutha pub in Glasgow has said he is "deeply concerned and frustrated" by the outcome of an inquiry.

Mark Nelis's wife Kirsty was one of three helicopter crew members who died when the Police Scotland aircraft fell onto the pub roof on November 29, 2013, killing seven customers.

Speaking out after a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) concluded Captain Dave Traill's failure to ensure at least one of the fuel transfer pump switches was set to on caused the crash, Mr Nelis said his wife trusted the pilot.

The widow of her colleague Tony Collins, who also died in the crash, said he had felt the same way.

Criticising Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull's ruling, Mr Nelis said: "Following the FAI determination, we find ourselves deeply concerned and frustrated with both Principal Sheriff Turnbull's comments and the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and its report(s).

"The sheriff principal, in his determination, apportioned blame to Dave, which we found to be very disappointing.

"He has commented that the pilot 'took a chance' and made a 'conscious decision' to ignore the fuel warnings.

"We find these conclusions surprising given the surrounding evidence that the aircraft had numerous fuel reading issues prior to the incident and that a number of design changes have been made to this aircraft type since."

He added: "No-one knows, nor will ever know exactly what circumstances led Captain Traill to make the decisions he did and the determination has not changed mine or my family's confidence and faith in him.

"We also have deep concerns with regards to the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), whom we believe should provide a fresh independent report in light of this determination as well as releasing all forms of their report as it developed."

He said a draft report was sent to interested parties before the final version being released late with "key points" changed without families being informed.

Lucy Collins believes her late husband would have wanted her to reiterate his confidence in Captain Traill's ability.

"He trusted Dave implicitly as the hugely experienced and skilled pilot he was," she said.

"I feel this is important information that Tony would have wanted me to share.

"I felt that Tony's unwavering trust in Dave Traill was the most important and relevant information that we could contribute to the FAI."

Their comments follow Captain Traill's fiancee Dr Lucy Thomas accusing the sheriff principal of opting to "sully" the pilot's "distinguished reputation".

More than 100 people were at the pub when the helicopter crashed when heading back to base.

The inquiry concluded the crash happened when the helicopter engines flamed out sequentially while airborne due to fuel starvation after the supply tank was depleted.

Mr Turnbull ruled the incident could have been prevented if the pilot had followed emergency procedures relating to low fuel warnings.

An AAIB spokesman said: "The AAIB stands by its final report and that, as the FAI has now concluded, the AAIB has no further comment to make."

The Crown Office declined to comment.

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.