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Call for helicopter crash FAI to be held without delay

The helicopter salvage operation under way in August 2013. Photo: Garry Sandison

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has called for a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the helicopter crash off Shetland more than four years ago to be held “without any further delay”.

Four oil workers, George Allison, Sarah Darnley, Duncan Munro and Gary McCrossan died and 14 others were rescued when the Super Puma aircraft crashed while approaching Sumburgh airport on 23 August 2013.

Scott said it was not acceptable that four years after the tragedy families were still waiting for closure.

However, the Crown Office responded by saying that the police investigation into the circumstances of the fatal crash was still ongoing.

The MSP has passed a parliamentary motion to recognise the issue. He said: “I want the Crown Office to ensure the earliest possible holding of the FAI into the circumstances surrounding the helicopter crash at Sumburgh in 2013. Four years after the tragedy families still wait for closure.

“At the time of the 2013 crash the families were assured that they would not wait for many years for an FAI. Yet it took five years after the 2009 North Sea helicopter crash with 16 fatalities for an FAI to be held.

“Police Scotland, at that time, promised families of the 2013 crash that they would not have to endure such a lengthy wait for answers.

“Unfortunately they did. A considerable period has now passed following the Sumburgh crash and families are still no nearer knowing what happened and why. Everyone involved would want this FAI to be held without any further delay.”

A Crown office spokesman said the report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, published in March 2016, had raised a number of issues that were still considered by the Crown as part of the wider investigation.

“We will endeavour to carry out our investigation as quickly as possible but the investigation is highly complex and challenging and requires specialist input from those with the necessary expertise in civil aviation,” he said.

“We will continue to keep the families advised of all significant developments.”

A FAI is normally held after Crown Counsel have made a decision on whether or not there should be any criminal proceedings.

A FAI is mandatory to be held when a death occurs as a result of an accident in the course of employment.