Glasgow helicopter crash: death toll rises to nine

The wreckage of the helicopter was removed from the site this morning as investigators said the pilot put out no mayday calls before the crash

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The Independent Online

The pilot of the police helicopter that crashed through the roof of a packed Glasgow pub did not put out any emergency calls before the incident, air accident investigators have said.

The wreckage of the helicopter was lifted from the site this morning while another body was found last night inside the collapsed Clutha Vaults pub, bringing the death toll up to nine.

Six bodies have been found inside the pub. The two police officers and a civilian pilot travelling in the helicopter also died.

David Miller, deputy chief inspector of Air Accident Investigations, did not offer a cause for the crash. He said there was no data recorder on board and that the pilot did not issue emergency transmissions.

Police have warned that yet more bodies could be recovered, as the search is completed over the coming hours.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer David Goodhew said: “Crews have been tunnelling underneath the helicopter to try to find further casualties and remove those where necessary.

“As soon as it is on the ground, crews will be immediately put back into the building to complete their search and hopefully we will have completed the search within the next 90 minutes to two hours.”

Twelve of 32 people taken to hospital continue to receive treatment, with three in intensive care.

Speaking from the scene of the crash, Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “Six bodies in total have been taken to the mortuary and there is a total of nine fatalities confirmed at this point.”

Among the deceased victims who have been named are the pilot and two constables who were on board the Bond-operated Eurocopter EC135 police helicopter.

Pilot David Traill, 51, died along with officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43, as they returned from a police operation.

Gary Arthur, 48, from Paisley and Samuel McGhee, 56, of Glasgow were among those inside the pub who died. The four other victims who were in the venue have not yet been identified.

Ms Fitzpatrick said: “This remains an ongoing investigation and search focused on the Clutha Vaults pub. The site is extremely challenging and the efforts of colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and investigators have been painstaking.”

The crash is likely to once again raise questions about the safety of helicopters after a spate of recent accidents.

The popular venue situated close to the River Clyde, was hosting live music and was packed with more than 100 people when the tragedy happened at 10.25pm on Friday night.

Yesterday hundreds of people attended a service at Glasgow Cathedral, near the Royal Infirmary, where prayers were said and candles lit for those affected by the crash.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said that both constables who died were members of the helicopter unit and had both previously been commended for acts of bravery.

Video: Respects paid to helicopter victims

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