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Fatal Accident Inquiry into Shetland helicopter deaths to be held in Inverness

By Louise Glen

Gary McCrossan
Gary McCrossan

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into a helicopter crash which killed four people including an Inverness father will be held in May – seven years after the tragedy.

Oil rig worker Gary McCrossan (59) from Inverness, was one of four people who lost their lives when a Super Puma crashed into the sea two miles west of Sumburgh Airport.

The incident happened during an approach to the airport on Shetland in August 2013.

A total of 18 people were on board at the time of the tragedy which killed passengers Sarah Darnley (45) from Elgin, Duncan Munro (46) from Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, and George Allison (57) from Winchester as well as Mr McCrossan. The 14 other passengers were rescued.

Yesterday, at a hearing in Aberdeen, Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle said the full FAI is due to be held in Inverness in May.

A 2016 report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found that the helicopter’s flight instruments, which were being used to land due to cloud, were not monitored effectively, allowing it to enter "a critically low and unrecoverable energy state".

At the time. Amanda Smith, whose son Sam was on the helicopter, told Sky News the aircraft suddenly lost power and those on board had "no time to brace".

"He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over," she said.

"He managed to escape straight away because he was right by an exit and I understand soon afterwards that the helicopter turned over."

The ditched helicopter was found broken into several pieces up against rocks.

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