On 29 November 2013 a Police Scotland helicopter operated by Bond Helicopters came down on top of the Clutha, a busy pub in central Glasgow. Besides the three occupants of the Eurocopter EC135, seven ground victims were also fatally injured in this accident.
Irwin Mitchell represents a significant number of the ground victims injured and families who lost loved ones. The specialists in the Glasgow office and the aviation team have provided support to the victims of the crash including:
- Negotiating with Bond Aviation Group from the earliest possible stage to secure interim payments for injured victims and to arrange specialist support for them
- Investigating the full extent of injuries to ensure victims get the justice they deserve
- Securing financial offers from Bond Aviation Group in relation to the fatal cases
- Writing to both the UK and Scottish Parliaments to urge them to consider amending the regulations concerning the requirement for helicopters to carry black box equipment and holding a public inquiry into commercial helicopter safety in an effort to prevent future tragedies
Despite prompt publication of Special Bulletins by the AAIB, the lack of black box equipment on the helicopter has meant that crucial contemporaneous evidence has not been available to assist the investigators. As such, they have identified that both engines lost power due to fuel starvation but they have not yet determined the full chain of events that caused this to happen.
The Irwin Mitchell aviation team believes that a change in regulations is necessary to ensure that black box equipment is standard on all commercial passenger carrying helicopters operating in UK airspace, to ensure that the causes of any future accidents can be promptly identified which should enable flight safety to be improved more quickly.
Two other serious incidents involving Eurocopter helicopters that have occurred in Scottish airspace recently are the CHC Super Puma crash close to Shetland in August 2013, in which 4 people lost their lives, and another CHC Super Puma that ditched in the North Sea due to gearbox related problems in October 2011. In addition to this, an Augusta AW109 helicopter crashed in Vauxhall, London, in January 2013 killing the pilot and injuring victims on the ground. Irwin Mitchell Aviation Law also represents passengers and victims involved in these Super Puma and Augusta accidents.
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