British lawyer seeks black boxes for all passenger-carrying helicopters

British lawyer seeks black boxes for all passenger-carrying helicopters

23-Dec-2013 Source: Irwin Mitchell

LAWYERS representing a family bereaved in the Clutha helicopter crash have called for all passenger-carrying helicopters to be fitted with black box recording devices.

Aviation legal experts from Irwin Mitchell, who also act for the victims of North Sea helicopter ditchings, have been instructed by John McGarrigle, whose 57-year-old father, also called John McGarrigle, died inside the Clutha. The law firm will represent the family as negotiations over compensation with the operator, Bond Air Services, get under way.

Ten people died when a Eurocopter EC135 police helicopter crashed into the roof of the Glasgow pub on November 29.

Jim Morris, partner in the Irwin Mitchell’s specialist aviation team, said that the lack of an explanation for the Glasgow crash highlighted the fact that EC135s are not currently required to have a flight data recorder (FDR) or cockpit voice recorder (CVR). He said: “The lack of crucial FDR and CVR evidence has made things much more difficult for the investigators.”

The Herald revealed how a fatal air ambulance crash in Hungary in 2008 involving an EC135 led Easa, Europe’s aviation regulator, to finally instruct operators this year to install black boxes on the aircraft. However, operators have until 2017 to do so.

Dozens of claims are expected to be lodged by those injured or bereaved in the Clutha tragedy.

Patrick McGuire, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, is representing more than 20 victims. He said: “We would expect sizeable payouts for those whose injuries mean they couldn’t return to full employment.

“But the most important thing for the victims is to find out what happened as quickly as possible.”

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