Belfast Telegraph

PSNI not grounding type of helicopter involved in Glasgow crash

The PSNI has said it has not grounded a model of helicopter involved in the tragic Glasgow pub crash after it was pulled from service across the UK.

The model of helicopter that crashed on a pub, killing nine people, has been grounded by operators after a defect was discovered on a recent flight.

A spokesman said the force had no plans to stop the use of its Eurocopter EC135.

The Police Scotland helicopter that crashed into the roof of the Clutha bar in Glasgow on November 29 was a Bond-operated Eurocopter EC135 Type 2 aircraft.

Bond has grounded its fleet of 22 EC135 helicopters in the UK as a precaution while the issue is examined.

An initial report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) issued this week said there was "no evidence of major mechanical disruption of either engine" of the Police Scotland helicopter as it returned from an operation in Dalkeith, Midlothian, on the night of the crash.

A statement from Bond Air Services said: "During normal operations yesterday, one of our EC135 fleet has experienced an indication defect that requires further technical investigation.

"Therefore as a precautionary measure we have temporarily suspended service operations whilst we undertake detailed diagnosis. We commenced investigations overnight, are continuing this morning and are in close liaison with Eurocopter regarding this investigation."

The helicopters are used by air ambulance and police forces throughout the UK.

It is understood the defect was found in a helicopter used by the North West Air Ambulance service.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "Bond Air Services advised on Wednesday evening that, as a precautionary measure, it was temporarily suspending flights of its fleet of Eurocopter EC135 helicopters, including Scotland's two air ambulance helicopters.

"The safety of patients and air ambulance staff is the number-one priority and Bond has taken the decision following a reported technical fault on one of the company's EC135s operating outside Scotland.

"Until the matter is resolved, the Scottish Ambulance Service is operating normal contingency measures whereby any patient that requires transfer by air will be taken by Coastguard and military helicopters, Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance helicopter or SAS fixed-wing aircraft."

The helicopter that crashed in Glasgow hit the flat roof of the Clutha pub with a high rate of descent and with low or negligible forward speed, the special bulletin from the AAIB revealed.

The weather was good and the helicopter still had 95 litres of the 400kg of fuel that it had taken off with from Glasgow City Heliport.

The pilot of the helicopter, David Traill, and his two passengers - police officers Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins - were killed in the crash along with six people inside the pub.

 

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