Glasgow Helicopter Crash: Lawyers Representing Family Of Victim Demand Flight Safety Changes

Aviation Law Experts Instructed In Relation To Clutha Tragedy

20.12.2013

Legal experts who are now representing the loved ones of a victim of the devastating helicopter crash in Glasgow last month are calling on UK authorities to make vital regulatory changes which should assist the investigation of such accidents and provide quicker answers to both the industry and the families affected.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Aviation Law team, ranked by leading legal directories as the leading claimant aviation law practice in the UK, has been instructed to act in relation to The Clutha tragedy on November 29th that claimed the lives of ten people. 

As well as working to secure justice for those affected by the crash, the team is also striving to improve the flight safety of helicopter operations and, as part of this, has launched a campaign demanding for the installation of vital black-box recording equipment to be standard on all commercial passenger-carrying helicopters.

The experts have vast experience representing victims of air accidents across the world and also notably act for victims of the Eurocopter crashes off the coast of Shetland in August and into the North Sea in October 2012.

Their campaigning expertise has also seen them successfully lobby the European Transport Commission on behalf of the families of British passengers killed in the Sita Air crash in Nepal in September 2012.  The European Commission subsequently banned all of Nepal's airlines from flying to or within European airspace until safety standards within the country’s aviation industry reach an acceptable level. 

Jim Morris, former RAF pilot and Partner in the specialist team, said that the lack of an explanation for the Glasgow crash has put into the spotlight the fact the EC135 helicopter involved was not required to be fitted with a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) or Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

Expert Opinion
We have now heard first-hand from the loved ones of victims about the terrible losses that they have suffered and are trying to come to terms with following this awful tragedy.

"While the Air Accident Investigation Branch has already issued a Special Bulletin on the crash, the lack of crucial FDR and CVR evidence has made things much more difficult for the investigators. This is reflected by the fact that this Special Bulletin does not provide any answers as to how ten people lost their lives – leaving families and the city of Glasgow as a whole frustrated at what is now a difficult time of year for many.

"If such equipment was fitted to the helicopter involved in the Clutha crash, investigators would have had far more comprehensive real time information regarding the technical aspects of the flight and the actions of the pilot as well as what may be vital voice recording data.

"Such information could have been extremely helpful in identifying the cause of this terrible incident at any early stage and in turn helped the authorities, helicopter operators and manufacturers promptly implement any measures necessary to improve flight safety.

"It is not acceptable in this day and age that technology which offers such clear benefits is not being used in all modern passenger-carrying helicopters operating in UK airspace. For this reason, we are calling for the aviation authorities to make the fitting of black-box equipment comprising FDRs and CVRs, in all passenger-carrying helicopters."
Jim Morris, Partner