Glasgow Helicopter Crash Families Call for Black Boxes in all Passenger Aircraft

By Gary Cutlack on at

The families of those involved with the Clutha Vaults helicopter crash -- where a police helicopter crashed into a pub, killing 10 people -- have left the inquiry into what happened confused and frustrated, claiming that the only way to suitably handle such investigations in the future is to install black box flight recorders in all passenger carrying aircraft.

Relatives were briefed on the findings of an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report ahead of its official publication, with the cause of the crash blamed on the helicopter's fuel switches; some of which had been left in the wrong position and starved the engines from fuel.

It seems the pre-publication briefing has only served to further baffle those involved, with investigators unable to give a solid account of events. Black box-style recorders may have helped attribute blame -- or absolve others -- and given a better sense of closure for those involved.

John McGarrigle, whose father John died that night, said: "All tonight has done for me is raise loads more questions. 'My head is scrambled, I'm that angry. 'Flight data recorders should be installed in every passenger-carrying aircraft - simple as. If we had that, we would know a lot more. 'It's just question upon question upon question."

Aviation law expert Jim Morris is also calling for flight recorders to become mandatory in the wake of the tragedy, saying: "The report goes into significant detail in its analysis but it is clear from what is said in the report that they can't answer all the questions on the full chain of events to determine why the fuel did not reach these engines." [BT]

Image credit: Black box from Shutterstock