Police helicopter had been fully checked after safety fears
Commemoration service held for the eight people known to have died when helicopter crashed into Clutha pub
Survivors Nancy Primrose (left) and Ann Faulds walk away after placing a bouquet near the site of a police helicopter crash on to a pub in central Glasgow, yesterday. Photograph: Andrew Winning / Reuters
The police helicopter that crashed into the roof of a Glasgow pub, killing its crew of three and five customers in the pub, was fully checked after safety fears last year were raised about the helicopter type.
Hundreds of people yesterday attended a commemoration in Glasgow Cathedral to mark the tragedy at the Clutha Vaults pub, which happened at 10.30pm on Friday.
Eight people died and 12 people are in hospital with serious injuries in the Scottish city. There are also fears that the bodies of others may still be trapped in the building.
Rev Laurence Whitley, leading prayers in the cathedral, said: “At such times it is difficult to find hope but hope we must so that nothing denies the triumph of the human spirit.”
The Eurocopter EC135 Type 2 was safety-tested last year after there were reports of cracks on the lower hub shaft flange of an aircraft in service in France.
“Following detailed inspection, in line with the latest airworthiness directive, no faults were identified and the force helicopter was available for operational deployment,” said Police Scotland.
The pilot killed in the crash was former RAF officer David Traill. He was known to the man leading the ambulance services, Pat O’Mara, who had frequently flown with him. “I had flown with the pilot, I knew the chap, so it makes it a bit more difficult,” said Mr O’Hara.
The other police officers killed were Constable Kirsty Nelis and Constable Tony Collins.
So far, just one of the victims in the Clutha Vaults pub has been named, Gary Arthur from Paisley. His daughter, Celtic and Scottish women’s footballer Chloe Arthur (18), wrote on Twitter: “RIP dad. You’ll always mean the world to me, I promise to do you proud, I love you with all my heart.”
First minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to the emergency services.
“The area from which the helicopter is being removed is a confined one, but we must prepare ourselves for the possibility that there could be further fatalities to come.
“Tragedies do not define people, cities or countries. They are defined by how we respond, how we endure and how we recover. We have responded, we endure and Glasgow and Scotland will recover,” he said.