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Call For Review Of Helicopter Rules And Public Inquiry Renewed As Clutha Anniversary Approaches

Lawyers And Victims Demand Answers 12 Months On From Crash


As the first anniversary of the Clutha pub helicopter crash approaches, specialist lawyers representing many people directly affected by the tragedy are repeating their calls for all commercial passenger carrying helicopters to be fitted with black box equipment, as well as for a public inquiry to investigate on and offshore flight safety.

The Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter, operated by Bond Helicopters for the police, crashed into the Clutha Bar in Glasgow on Friday 29 November last year killing seven people in the pub and all three people on board the aircraft. An investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has so far revealed that both engines appear to have suffered fuel starvation, but the full accident report is yet to be released.

Irwin Mitchell Scotland is representing 17 people including relatives of those who died and those who were injured in the pub during the crash. Lawyers at the firm are currently in negotiations with the insurers of the helicopter operator, Bond, in relation to achieving fair settlements for many of the victims and have already secured interim payments for some of the most seriously injured people.

The law firm has repeatedly called for a public inquiry into commercial helicopter safety in the UK and review of the laws that exempt smaller helicopters from having to carry crucial black box data recording equipment. In a letter to both UK and Scottish Parliaments earlier this year, Irwin Mitchell’s Aviation Law team called for a fast track review of the regulations concerning the requirements for helicopters to be fitted with black box equipment and an inquiry to consider:

  • How safe are commercial helicopter flights?
  • How does the UK’s safety record compare with that of other countries?
  • What steps could and should be taken by the industry to improve the safety of flights?
  • How could legislation and regulations relating to helicopter safety be improved?
  • How effective are existing regulators, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, in ensuring that recommendations to improve safety are implemented?

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and partner in the aviation practice in London is working with Elaine Russell, a partner at Irwin Mitchell Scotland, in representing the victims of the Clutha accident. 

Irwin Mitchell also acts for victims of a number of other helicopter crashes including a fatal Eurocopter crash off the coast of Shetland in August last year, the ditching of another Eurocopter in the North Sea in October 2012 and the crash of an Augusta Westland helicopter in Vauxhall, London in January 2013.

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