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

 

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.

Video: Helicopter removed from pub

By default player size is set to 420 x 315px. But you can resize player width and height once you get the player code using player params.
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones