Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Memorial service for Clutha victims

A memorial service has taken place for the 10 people who died in the Clutha helicopter crash.

A candle was lit for each of the victims during a service in Glasgow, held four months to the day after the accident.

Hundreds of family members and friends joined community leaders and government representatives at the hour-long memorial a t St Andrew's Cathedral in Clyde Street, a short walk from the crash site.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Labour MP Jim Murphy and local council leader Gordon Matheson were among those who attended.

Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty told the congregation that grief was still raw over the tragedy, but she hoped the service could go some way towards helping those affected.

There were readings by police and fire service chiefs Sir Stephen House and Alasdair Hay and a homily by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, who led the memorial.

The Archbishop spoke about visiting the Clutha in the aftermath of the crash and about all those who helped rescue survivors and sought to bring comfort to others.

He said: "In many ways the tragedy brought out the good, and the selfless and the compassionate in people. It was poignant and humbling and I was proud of my city."

Pilot David Traill and police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis were killed when the Eurocopter EC 135 went down on the Clutha bar at around 10.25pm on November 29.

The popular venue was hosting a live band and was packed with customers on the Friday evening.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, and Samuel McGhee.

Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but later died in hospital.

An accident report found both engines on the aircraft failed but did not point to an exact cause of the crash.

Minister of Glasgow Cathedral Rev Dr Laurence Whitley, who gave a reading today, told BBC Radio Scotland: "The point of the service is two-fold.

"The first is to say to the bereaved, and those who survived and still bear the scars, that the promises of support that were made at the time are being honoured.

"People are not moving on and forgetting, we are still here.

"The second thing is that the service has been carefully put together to emphasise the sense of comfort and strengthening.

"That's the message that's being put across and I think a lot will find that helpful."

The latest report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said both the helicopter's engines had ''flamed out'' but fuel remained in its tank, with no evidence of blockages or leakages.

Nothing has been found to suggest structural failure or damage caused by bird strike or a foreign object hitting the aircraft in flight.

At 10.18pm the pilot requested clearance from air traffic control to re-enter the Glasgow control zone to return to the heliport. No further radio transmissions were received.

A full report by the AAIB will be published later.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen described the tragedy as "a completely unforeseen event and a huge shock".

He told today's Daily Record newspaper: "There was no call of assistance from the helicopter. It was a minute's flying time from the air base.

Describing the scene at the pub after the crash, he said: "There were still pints of beer, half drunk, sitting on the tables.

"Instead of turning right when you went in, if you turned left into the other room, there was a helicopter in there. It looked as if it was almost parked."


From Belfast Telegraph