Wishart demands Sturgeon apology over helicopter crash inquiry ‘delay’
Beatrice Wishart has demanded First Minister Nicola Sturgeon apologise over the “needless delay” to a fatal accident inquiry into a helicopter crash that claimed four lives.
The Isles MSP said the wait for answers had caused families “even more pain”.
Four offshore workers were killed seven years ago, when their Super Puma helicopter crashed on its approach to Sumburgh Airport.
The long-awaited inquiry now has a provisional date set in May in Inverness.
The Lib Dem MSP raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions on Friday.
“The needless delay for an FAI determination will have caused families even more pain, to follow what was already an unimaginably tragic event. There can be no good reason for that,” said the Lib Dem MSP following the exchange.
“As well as causing more pain for the families involved, evidence is lost, memories fade and lessons can’t be learned.
“That’s not to mention the years of anxiety for those in Shetland and beyond working in the oil and gas industry in the North Sea, who are continuing to work without understanding why this accident happened.
“This is just more evidence to show that the Crown Office is incapable of handling FAIs. The Scottish Government need to move the responsibility elsewhere.”
The wait has also reportedly been called “deplorable” by Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle at a preliminary hearing in Aberdeen.
The First Minister responded to the question at Holyrood by conveying her “thoughts and sympathies to the families concerned”, adding: “I know how difficult the last seven years will have been for them.”
The SNP leader went on to say that decisions in fatal accident inquiries were not for her to decide, that “constitutionally” they belonged to the Crown Office and that it would not be “appropriate for me to comment in any detail at all”.
Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin; Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness and George Allison, 57, from Winchester all died when the aircraft they were flying in crashed on 23rd August 2013.
The CHC-operated helicopter had been flying from the Borgsten Dolphin platform with 18 people onboard.
It crashed into the sea approximately 0.4 nautical miles southwest of Garths Ness.