UK police chopper crashes into Scottish pub

| 30/11/2013

(CNS): Eight people died after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, Friday night. The chopper was the same model, a Eurocopter EC135 as that used here by the RCIPS Air Support Unit. A major investigation is now under way and the British Air Accidents Investigations Branch will conduct an inquiry into the crash. Two police officers who were inside the helicopter and the civilian pilot were killed, as well as five people in the bar, known as The Cultha. Another 14 people were hospitalized with very serious injuries. The RCIPS said that this type of accident is extremely rare as the model of helicopter has an exceptional safety record.

The helicopter crashed into the roof of the pub at 10:30pm UK time on Friday night. It is thought about 120 people were in the pub at the time and most were rescued or escaped but others were trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.

William Byrne, 45, from Coatbridge, who was in the pub when the helicopter came down told the BBC, “There was a loud bang. Then there was dust and the lights went out. It was surreal. We didn't know what had happened. At our side of the pub at least two people were trapped under the gantry. Myself and others lifted it up and managed to get them out. I spent some time with one injured man."

Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said it was working with the police and emergency services to find out how the Eurocopter EC135 came down, which will also be of particular concern to the RCIPS.

Joining with policing services throughout the world in sending condolences to those involved in the crash, a police spokesperson said the RCISP would be informed about the cause.

“This type of accident is extremely rare and this particular model of helicopter has an exceptional safety record. The RCIPS is in direct contact with the manufacturer and as soon as the cause of the crash is known that information will be made available to us.

"Safety is of paramount importance to the RCIPS and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take any required action. In the meantime, the RCIPS helicopter remains operational," the police stated.

However, according to another report in the UK's Daily Mail on Saturday, the same model of helicopter t was grounded last year amid safety concerns. Safety regulators had issued an emergency alert over the Eurocopter EC135 after a fault was found on an aircraft used by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The helicopter had been found to have a crack on a rotor blade – a problem which experts said could cause it to crash. It led to air ambulance operators across the UK grounding helicopters as a ‘precautionary measure’, although they were later cleared to fly. 


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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS, the RCIPS helicopter is not the same model as the one that crashed. It's an earlier T1 model built in 1999.

    The Scottish crash involved a T2 model which has significantly different avionics and control systems to the RCIPS machine.

    Ironically, many of these upgrades were made to comply with the tougher certification requirements (particularly relating to night flying) that caused the RCIPS machine to be retired in the UK, it being nearly impossible to retro-fit the older machines with the required equipment.

    In 2007 another EC135 T2 crashed near North Weald in the UK after the autotrim was disengaged. 

    CNS: This is verbatim what the police press officer stated in a release yesterday: "The helicopter involved is the same model as the one which is used by the RCIPS Air Operations Unit  – a Eurocopter EC135."

    • Anonymous says:

      It's an EC135, you are spliiting hairs about the differences of aT1 and a T2.  If they said it's not the same model, everyone would be saying it is.  So many experts!

      • Anonymous says:

        And you, 22.12 are not looking closely enough..take cars, the difference between a basic model and the top of the range can include differing engines, electronics, wheels and so on. The difference between a Challenger 1 battle tank and a Challenger 2 battle tank are enormous. The difference between a Boeing 737 200 series and teh 800 series-they may as well be different aircraft

      • Diogenes says:

        Try getting a T1 approved for night flying in the UK then and see if the CAA think its hair splitting.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Aviation, like many other operations, is a risky business and despite all the checks and balances to reduce the risk there will be moments like this where life is lost.  Our hearts go out to all those affected by the deaths of the airmen and innocent public. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Rest in Peace. How sad, please be safe but keep flying, we need you.  At times we forget how brave these helicopter crews are.  Thoughts with ALL the families, what a tragedy.