24th May 2019
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Renewed call for inquiry into helicopter crash

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Another call has been made for a fatal accident inquiry to be held into the helicopter crash off Sumburgh which claimed the lives of four people.

Isles MSP Tavish Scott is urging the Scottish government to impress upon the Crown Office the need to begin the FAI into the tragedy.

Mr Scott spoke after North East Labour MSP Lewis MacDonald called for a public inquiry into helicopter safety ahead of the 10th anniversary of a crash off Peterhead in which 16 lives were lost.

In total 33 people have died in Super Puma crashes in the North Sea since 2009.

Speaking in parliament, Mr Scott said: “May I associate myself with Lewis MacDonald’s sensible question and ask the minister to reflect that the Sumburgh crash that Lewis MacDonald mentioned is now six years past and there still has not been a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“Would the minister at least undertake to speak with the Crown Office to press the case for that Fatal Accident Inquiry to begin given that the families of those who lost loved ones still have no answers to what actually happened?”

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “I very much recognise the strong interest of Mr Scott and indeed Alistair Carmichael, the local MP, as well in terms of the role of an FAI.

“Investigations of deaths and decisions into Fatal Accident Inquiries are, as I’m sure the member is aware, a matter for the Lord Advocate acting independently and the Scottish government is providing an additional £5 million in the Crown Office budget for 2019/20 to allow them to increase staffing in response to an increasingly complex caseload.

“I cannot intervene directly in the decision making of the Lord Advocate but we are making resources available to hold more Fatal Accident Inquiries.”

Tavish Scott

After the exchange, Tavish Scott said: “Six years of delay is simply not acceptable. Families and friends don’t yet have answers to the basic questions of what happened and why. Nor do they know whether or not prosecutions will happen.

“An increase in resources to deal with Fatal Accident Inquiries is welcome, but that doesn’t provide the families with the answers they deserve. It also means lessons can’t be learned.

“For their sake, the Crown Office should get on with it.”

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