Glasgow & West Scotland

Clutha Inquiry: Helicopter pilot 'should have issued mayday'

Police helicopter is removed from the scene Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Bond Air Services engineer shared concerns about the firm's helicopter maintenance in a handover the day before the crash

The Clutha fatal accident inquiry has heard the pilot of the police helicopter should have put out a mayday call during its final journey.

According to guidance, the aircraft should also have had at least 85kg of fuel on board.

The court heard if it went below that level then Captain David Traill should have issued the emergency signal.

Ten people died in the tragedy in Glasgow city centre on 29 November 2013.

The 14th day of the inquiry, which is being held at Hampden Park, heard Mr Traill did not issue a mayday to indicate there was a life-threatening emergency on board.

The inquiry was also told he didn't make a PAN call, which indicates an urgent situation, as he was approaching the minimum fuel requirement stated in the guidance notes.

After the crash it was found to have 76kg in the main tank.

Image caption Top: L to R, David Traill, PC Kirsty Nelis, PC Tony Collins, Gary Arthur, Samuel McGhee. Bottom: L to R, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Joe Cusker

The inquiry also heard the pilot of the Police Scotland helicopter gave a very accomplished performance when he was assessed.

Alex Stobo, who worked for the operator Bond, assessed pilot Mr Traill in June 2012, a year and a half before the crash.

In the notes about Captain Traill's performance in a test in a simulator in daylight he wrote: "All emergencies completed to a high standard."

Asked by Gordon Lamont for the Crown: "Is this almost as good as it gets?"

Mr Stobo replied: "It was a very high standard."

Captain Traill also passed another test that involved a mixture of day and night flying in a simulator at a good level.

Clutha inquiry: The evidence so far

The inquiry began last month with a minute's silence to honour the victims of the tragedy.

On the third day, a joint minute was read out which agreed the times and causes of death.

Pilot David Traill, 51; PC Tony Collins, 43; and PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, lost their lives in the crash along with seven customers who were in the bar on Stockwell Street.

They were Gary Arthur, 48; Joe Cusker, 59; Colin Gibson, 33; Robert Jenkins, 61; John McGarrigle, 58; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Mark O'Prey, 44.

The inquiry, before Sheriff principal Craig Turnbull, continues.

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