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Police helicopter & # 39; sputtered, light went out, and the rotor stopped spinning & # 39; for the fatal crash at full pub, witness tells investigation

A fatal accident investigation has opened to investigate how a police helicopter crashed on the roof of a packed pub in Glasgow and killed ten people.

More than 100 people were in the Clutha Vaults pub when the Police Scotland helicopter, which returned to its base on the banks of the River Clyde, crashed through the roof on November 29, 2013.

The pilot, two crew members and seven customers died.

A minute's silence was held at the start of the investigation on Monday morning in memory of those who died. Relatives of a number of pub customers who died reading tributes and paid homage to them.

The fatal accident investigation (FAI) for Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull is held in Glasgow in a temporary court in a conference suite at Hampden Park, Scotland's national football stadium.

The first person to witness was eyewitness Andrew Bergin.

The 30-year-old lawyer from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, told how he walked on the river in the night in question.

He said about the helicopter: "When I first started looking, there was nothing special about it. I suppose I would like to see it pass by.

"When it came to my 7 o'clock, over my left shoulder, it made what I can only describe as a sputtering sound. It was no lower than I had seen it before.

"The helicopter's tail dipped and pointed to the ground. At the same time, the light on the helicopter went out.

"It seemed to me that the rotor stopped rotating. It was still rotating, but not under power.

"It immediately seemed to lose height as soon as the sputtering took place.

"Everything happened more or less at the same time."

Ernest Doherty, 64, from South Lanarkshire, had finished his work and walked down Buchanan Street when a noise from above caught his attention.

"It made a noise like an old car trying to start," he said, "but trying to start a thousand times louder.

& # 39; When I looked above the buildings, I saw the helicopter come down past the church. & # 39;

The FAI heard tribute to Samuel McGhee, 56; Gary Arthur, 48; Robert Jenkins, 61; Colin Gibson, 33; John McGarrigle, 57; and Mark O & # 39; Prey, 44.

The tribute to Robert Jenkins described the emotional pain that his death had caused to his partner Mary Kavanagh.

"They were only in the bar for 40 minutes when the tragedy struck," he said. "All Mary Kavanagh wants to know is why she went into that bar with the man she would spend the rest of her life with and came out alone."

Kerry McGhee described her father Samuel McGhee as a hard worker who was "very social" with "many friends."

A statement to Colin Gibson's family said: "If you were lucky enough to meet him, you knew you had it while he made a lasting impression on you.

"Ever since he was a boy, he enjoyed helping people.

"He had never been to the Clutha bar. Colin happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. & # 39;

The sisters of Gary Arthur told the study in a statement: "He was caring, loving and could also be annoying in our younger years.

"He was a joker and he remained a loving impostor all his life.

"Nothing will ever bring our brother back, but hopefully we will finally have the chance to find the closure.

"We want to remember Gary as a beloved person and not just a victim of the Clutha."

The relatives of Joe Cusker, 59, have not made a statement.

There were no personal statements on behalf of pilot David Traill or crew members Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis.

The purpose of the FAI is to determine the cause of the deaths, to determine whether they could have been prevented and to enable the sheriff to make recommendations that could prevent fatalities in similar circumstances.

The Eurocopter are removed from the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow (PA)

A report from the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) published in 2015 showed that two fuel supply switches were off and that the pilot did not follow emergency procedures following a fuel warning in the cockpit.

The Crown Office said earlier that there is insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings.

A total of 57 Crown witnesses will provide evidence during the investigation, compared to an earlier estimate of 85.

The police have made more than 2,000 statements as part of preparations for the FAI, while the Crown has around 1,400 productions.

The investigation is expected to consist of approximately three months of evidence spread over six calendar months this year.

(Press Association)

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