Friday, November 29, 2013

Eurocopter EC135 T2+, G-SPAO, Bond Air Services Ltd. for Police Scotland: Accident occurred November 29, 2013 at The Clutha Pub, Stockwell Street, Glasgow - United Kingdom 

David Traill died on board a service helicopter which crashed into the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow

The first of the funerals for those who died in the Glasgow helicopter crash is due to take place today. 

The helicopter pilot, captain David Traill, 51, was one of nine people killed when the aircraft crashed on to the roof of the Clutha bar in the city on Friday November 29.

His funeral will be held at Glasgow University.

Mr Traill's company previously described him as one of its most experienced pilots and "the epitome of the consummate professional".

He was a former RAF pilot and instructor who served in both Gulf wars, Bond Air Services said.

"His untimely death has been deeply felt by his family, friends and colleagues who mourn his passing with a sense of intense loss and sorrow,'' the firm said.

The pilot, originally from Falkirk, had a career that spanned 26 years. His role as a civilian pilot for both the Glasgow-based Scottish Air Ambulance and Police Scotland was said to have brought him a great deal of happiness and job satisfaction.

Bond added: "As a former RAF pilot and instructor, Dave had 20 years of service flying the Chinook in places as varied as Norway and Bosnia. He served his country in both Gulf wars and formed part of the Chinook 2007 display team before joining Bond Air Services as a commercial pilot in 2008.

''Dave Traill was an esteemed colleague, a legend amongst his peers and above all, everyone's friend. Never short of a witty comeback, it went hand in hand with his dry sense of humour.

''Taken from us too early, he leaves behind a legacy of love, kindness and friendship. We will miss him.''

The other crew members who died in the incident were police constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.

Six people died inside the pub where live music was being played at the time. They were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, Colin Gibson, 33, John McGarrigle, 57, Gary Arthur, 48, and Samuel McGhee, 56.

SKY Sports have issued an apology after golf commentator Helen Alfredsson made a joke about the Clutha crash. 

 Her insensitive comment - which was made as a helicopter flew overhead and referenced the pilot involved in the Glasgow tragedy - was swiftly picked up online by disgusted viewers who immediately complained to the broadcasting channel.

One said: “Helen Alfredsson has said she hopes the Helicopter Pilot at their Golf tournament is better than the one in Glasgow. Creep.”

Another added: “SACK HELEN ALFREDSSON... disgusting insensitive comments” and another said: “@policescotland @SkySportsNews @Police  can you investigate the ex Golfer Helen Alfredsson, shocking #clutha comments regarding the pilot.”

Sky later issued this apology: “Statement regarding Dubai Ladies Masters - Helen Alfredsson Sky Sports offered coverage of the Dubai Ladies Masters tournament on Thursday with live pictures and commentary provided by a world feed broadcaster, supported by presentation from our own studios in London.

"Sky has no control over the commentary from the event, which is shared by a number of international broadcasters, and we were shocked at the unacceptable comments made by one of the analysts.

"As soon as coverage switched back to our studio in London, our presenter David Livingstone apologized and we reiterate our apology for the offense caused by these comments.

"We have also expressed our strong concerns to the world feed broadcaster.”

Alfredsson is not employed by Sky Sports directly who take a feed of golfing broadcasts from the Ladies' European Tour.

Swede Alfredsson, 48, who won 11 tournaments on golf’s Ladies European Tour before retiring in September,  made reference to the helicopter crash which occurred in Glasgow last Friday, killing nine people.

Her comments follow just days after TV pundit and This Morning guest Katie Hopkins was vilified for commenting on Twitter about the average life expectancy of Scots just hours after the helicopter disaster.

ITV said they have no plans for the  former Apprentice  to appear on This Morning following a petition  signed by over 85,000 people.

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Specialist rescue teams remove the police helicopter from the Clutha bar

Glasgow helicopter crash: Tributes paid to victims - 'a beautiful friend' and a 'highly professional' pilot 

Pilot David Traill died in the crash (Facebook)

Tributes were paid today to victims of the Glasgow police helicopter crash, including the “very pleasant” and “highly professional” pilot, “a smashing lad” who helped his daughter to become a Scottish international footballer, and “a beautiful friend”. 

Police formally identified the three crew members of the helicopter who died when it plunged through the roof of The Clutha bar on Friday night as pilot Captain David Traill, 51, and police officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 41, who had both been previously commended for bravery.

Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area, has also been named by police as one of at least five people in the bar who died, but others including poet John McGarrigle were identified by friends and relatives.

Jeanette Retson, a friend of Captain Traill, said he was “a lovely person”.

“I knew David was working with the police force and all day yesterday I was just hoping it wasn’t him that was in it [the helicopter],” she said.

“But I found out this morning, I’m so sorry, so sad … He loved his work. I am proud to know David Traill.”

Captain Traill served in the RAF and was a flying instructor at RAF Odiham in Hampshire before he became a civilian pilot. He had worked with the police for about four years.

Speaking to journalists outside a memorial service held at Glasgow Cathedral, Pat O’Meara, of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said he had flown with Captain Traill and described him as “a very pleasant person, a decent man, highly professional”.

The pilot’s cousin Heather Lawson wrote on her Facebook page: “RIP David Traill my lovely big cousin away far too soon xxx”

PC Nelis reportedly received a bravery award in 2003 after tackling a man with a hammer while trapped in a lift with him in Greenock.

Some of her friends changed their Facebook profile pictures to a black square crossed by a thin blue line in her memory.

One, Andrina Romano, wrote: “For my beautiful friend Kirsty and all others involved. You will never be forgotten and I will miss you every day. Rip”

Speaking about all three on the helicopter, Sir Stephen House, chief constable of Police Scotland, said: “I'd like to pay tribute to all of them and the work that they did over the years keeping people safe across Scotland.

“Both the officers involved had previously been commended by the police by bravery in different acts.”

Chloe Arthur, 18, who plays for Celtic’s women’s football team and has been capped for Scotland at under-19 level, wrote on Twitter: “RIP dad, you'll always mean the world to me, I promise to do you proud, I love you with all my heart.”

John Lyon, a friend of Mr Arthur, described him as a “smashing lad” who was “a really talented footballer” when he was younger and had helped his daughter’s career, the Daily Record reported.

In a statement, Celtic sent its condolences to the families of all of those who were killed. “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic, including all of Chloe’s team-mates and friends at the club, are with Chloe and her family at this desperately sad time,” the club added.

Mark O’Prey, 44, a window cleaner from East Kilbride, is also thought to have been killed.

John McGarrigle, 38, said on Saturday that an eyewitness had told him his father, John McGarrigle, 59, had been killed while sitting at his favourite spot in the bar.

Mr McGarrigle senior was a published poet, who went to poetry nights at The Scotia pub, which is not far from The Clutha.

The blogger Ann Arky of the Radical Glasgow website wrote: “John didn't have an easy life, but he lived it with energy.

“I always thought that in his poetry, he could capture the full spectrum of human emotions, he could come up with the witty, ridiculously funny, stupidly funny and the profoundly moving.”

In one poem, Refuge, he wrote about finding beauty among the litter in hills near Glasgow.

“And when the snow comes to hide the sins of man, you'll find in this winter wonderland a refuge,” he said.


 The crash involving a police helicopter in Glasgow city centre is the latest in a series of incidents in recent years involving Eurocopter aircraft.

Police Scotland said the helicopter was a Eurocopter EC135 Type 2, registration G-SPAO. It was built in 2007 and was operated by Bond Air Services, originally for the Strathclyde Police Air Support Unit.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch will carry out an inquiry into what caused the aircraft to drop out of the sky. Eyewitnesses described hearing a loud bang, but the helicopter does not appear to have caught fire.

Investigators will examine whether mechanical failure, pilot error or other factors were responsible for the sudden loss of power.

Two other Eurocopter models have been involved in five incidents in the last four years involving offshore workers being transported to and from North Sea installations.

In the most recent crash four people died when a Super Puma AS332 ditched in the sea off the southern tip of Shetland in August.

In April 2009 all 16 people on board an AS332 helicopter died when it crashed into the sea off Peterhead.

An AAIB investigation found that the aircraft had suffered a catastrophic gearbox failure.

Helicopter operators grounded a different Super Puma model, the EC225, following two ditching incidents in the North Sea in the space of six months last year. All 33 people on board the two aircraft were rescued safely.

Eurocopter called in a specialist engineering firm to identify the source of the problem and flights were suspended for several weeks.

The EC225 fleet returned to service in mid-August after a review of safety procedures and the introduction of extra checks.

Friday’s crash will inevitably raise fresh questions about the reliability of the Eurocopter models.

In pictures: Glasgow pub helicopter crash  

A helicopter, thought to be a police aircraft, has crashed into a pub on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow.

The crash happened at the Clutha Vaults in Stockwell Street.

Jim Murphy, shadow development secretary, said there had been multiple injuries and reported a "pile of people" clambering out of a pub.

Images of the crash on social media sites showed the dark blue helicopter on the roof with yellow "POLICE" insignia on part of the wreckage.

The Police Roll of Honour Trust tweeted "Our thoughts are with the crew of @policescotland SP99 helicopter that has crashed in Glasgow - hoping everyone is alright."

Eyewitness Fraser Gibson, 34, was inside the Clutha pub with his brother to see his former band, Esperanza.

"Midway through their set it sounded like a giant explosion," he told BBC Scotland.

"Part of the room was covered in dust. We didn't know what had happened. We froze for a second; there was panic and then people trying to get out the door."

Mr Gibson said that immediately following the incident there was a suggestion that a helicopter had crashed into the roof of the pub.

"There was no obvious sign of that," he said. "I couldn't hear of any rotors or anything like that before the event happened or any sign when we came out of the pub."

"I would say there was maybe 120 people inside the pub. A lot of people managed to get out straight away, but it was hard to tell how many were actually trapped in the other half of the bar.

"We wanted to get out of the way and let the emergency services get in there to help.

"I spoke to one of my former band members and he's as much in the dark over the situation as me.

"We checked that each other was safe and the rest of the band were safe. The immediate group I was with are all safe.

"We're obviously very concerned about what casualties have been sustained in the incident.

"There were no signs (of a helicopter) at all. The roof had just totally collapsed, there were shards of wood sticking out the top but nothing that said there had been a helicopter crash."

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: "I can confirm that we have people at the scene.

"It is obviously a major incident. There are numerous fire engines there; 15 fire engines at the moment along with specialist services.

"I cannot confirm if there have been any injuries."

Claire Morris, who lives near the Clutha bar, told BBC News: "We heard this bang. We didn't really know what had happened and then we heard people coming out and screaming.

"I wasn't sure whether there had been an explosion. My daughter said to me it was a helicopter that had hit the roof.

"Police are everywhere. We are just very shaken."

She added the pub was very popular and would have been busy on a Friday night.

Mr Murphy said there were about 40 fire brigade staff at the scene and said passers-by had helped at the scene.

Mr Murphy told the BBC: "It's a well established Glasgow pub. It's a horrible, horrible scene, but well done to the folk who were here. Everyone formed a chain of people from inside the pub to outside, and the fire brigade and everyone were here very quickly."

First Minister Alex Salmond tweeted: "The emergency services are in full operation. Our thoughts are with everyone involved. Scottish resilience operation now mobilised."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "absolutely awful news"

"My thoughts are with everyone involved and the emergency services," she tweeted. Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted:

"My thoughts are with everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow - and the emergency services working tonight." Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said it was "shocking news from Glasgow. 

All my thoughts are with those who have been injured."

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Gordon Smart, editor the Scottish Sun, told the BBC:

I can't really believe what's happened. I was on the phone at the time and I heard a misfiring engine. Looked above me, couldn't work out where it was coming from, it got louder and louder and I just spotted a helicopter falling from the sky.

It was falling at great speed. It looked like the rotors weren't spinning but the helicopter was sort of turning in a strange position and dropping at great speed. Oddly enough here was no explosion no fire ball.

It's a busy Friday night, a lot of people have been out in the pubs, there are a lot of pubs in that area. I do fear… I would be staggered if there weren't fatalities from the area it's landed.