No mayday call from helicopter before Glasgow crash, death toll rises to nine

Monday 02 December 2013 23.48
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Helicopter has been removed from the scene
Helicopter has been removed from the scene
The helicopter crashed through the roof of the pub on Friday night
The helicopter crashed through the roof of the pub on Friday night
(L-R) Pilot David Traill and police officers Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins  were in the helicopter when it crashed
(L-R) Pilot David Traill and police officers Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins were in the helicopter when it crashed
A policeman helps a small boy leave flowers at the scene
A policeman helps a small boy leave flowers at the scene
Nine people have now been confirmed to have died in the Glasgow police helicopter crash
Nine people have now been confirmed to have died in the Glasgow police helicopter crash
Flowers left near the crash site in Glasgow
Flowers left near the crash site in Glasgow
Celtic manager Neil Lennon lays a wreath near The Clutha bar
Celtic manager Neil Lennon lays a wreath near The Clutha bar

The bodies of nine people killed when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a busy pub have been recovered, as investigators revealed that no mayday call was made from the aircraft.

Air accident investigators said the helicopter made a vertical descent onto the Clutha bar in Glasgow on Friday night and that the pilot made no emergency call.

The wreckage of the three-tonne Eurocopter has been removed from the building in a painstaking operation which allowed emergency services to search the area inside the bar.

The helicopter has been loaded on to a lorry and is destined for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) base in England at Farnborough, Hampshire.

All three of the helicopter's crew died when it landed on the popular bar as it returned from a police operation at 10.25pm. Six people inside the packed pub were also killed.

Five crash victims have been named so far.

They are pilot David Traill, 51, who died along with police officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.

Two victims who were inside the pub have been named as 48-year-old Gary Arthur, from Paisley, and Samuel McGhee, 56, from Glasgow.

Immediately after the crash 32 people were taken to hospital. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said 12 remain in three hospitals across the city.

Investigation under way into cause of crash

An investigation into what caused the helicopter to drop out of the sky "like a stone" is under way.

David Miller, deputy chief inspector of the AAIB, said: "There were no emergency transmissions from the pilot before this accident.

"I can confirm that the helicopter does not have a flight data recorder. However, it does have a significant number of modern electronic systems on board and it may be possible to recover recorded data from those systems."

Earlier today two private ambulances left the scene of the tragedy an hour after the fuselage was winched out of the roof.

Firefighters, ambulance staff and police officers formed a guard of honour at the site as the vehicles passed them.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said the body of the ninth person was removed from the scene and taken to Southern General Hospital for identification.

The helicopter wreckage will be taken for "detailed examination and investigation" by the AAIB she said.

"This now enables us, working with colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to continue the search and recovery operation within the site to satisfy ourselves that all the victims of Friday night's tragic incident have been recovered," she said.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer David Goodhew said the construction of the Clutha has hampered the "extremely difficult and complex" recovery operation.

Rescuers had to contend with large amounts of rubble inside the building, caused by the collapse of three roof structures and walls inside the pub.

Families unhappy at speed of rescue operation

There has been some criticism of the speed of the rescue operation from the families of those still missing.

Relatives of missing Mark O'Prey said they believe that the recovery of the helicopter took precedence over the removal of bodies.

His sister Louise told BBC Radio Scotland: "We just need to know. It's too long now, really."

John McGarrigle said his father John Snr was in the Clutha and has not yet been found.

"I just want the phone call we were told we were going to get from the police," he said.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said crews have been working as quickly and safely as possible and that she understands the "frustration and the anguish" of people who are waiting for news.

She visited Scottish Ambulance Service staff in Springburn, Glasgow, to thank them for their response to the crash.

"It is appropriate again to say how much all of us are thinking of those who have been bereaved," she said.

"It is not possible to imagine the grief and the anguish that they are suffering but I hope it is of comfort to them that they know that the thoughts not just of the people across Glasgow but people across the country are with them."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon added a wreath to the hundreds of floral tributes placed at the site of the crash.

The teenage daughter of Mr Arthur is a Celtic and Scottish women's footballer.

Mr Lennon said: "It's very difficult for me to find the right words at this time for (the victims and families) but, on behalf of myself and the club and the Celtic support, we're all thinking of you and you're very much in our thoughts and prayers at this time."

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael paid tribute to the courage and character of the people of Glasgow and signed a book of condolence at the council's headquarters.

The city council has pledged that financial help will be provided to anyone in hardship as a result of the tragedy.