Glasgow helicopter pilot made no distress call, officials say

Rescuers lift the police helicopter wreckage from the roof of the The Clutha Pub on December 2, 2013, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
LONDON - The pilot of a Scottish police helicopter did not put out any emergency calls before crashing through the roof of a crowded Glasgow pub killing nine people, investigators said Monday.

Authorities used a crane to remove the wreckage of the helicopter from the roof of The Clutha pub where it crashed on Friday night.

The helicopter's crew - a civilian pilot and two police officers on board - died in the accident. Six other people died.

David Miller, deputy chief inspector of Air Accident Investigations, did not offer a cause for the crash Monday, saying the probe is just beginning.

"We just haven't had a chance yet to have a detailed look at the systems," he told reporters.

Miller said there was no data recorder on board and that the pilot did not make emergency transmissions. There was no explosion or fire, he said.

He said investigators will analyze the helicopter's systems and radar data - which can tell the height and speed of the helicopter in the latter stages of its flight - for clues about what brought the aircraft down.

Authorities say 12 people remain hospitalized with injuries from the accident, three of whom are in intensive care.

Authorities on Monday released the names of four of the victims. They were identified as Robert Jenkins, 61; Mark O'Prey, 44; Colin Gibson, 33; and John McGarrigle, 57, BBC News reported.

McGarrigle's son, also named John, had expressed frustration earlier at the slowness in recovering all the bodies.

“I’m enraged,” he told CBS News. “I want my dad out of there.”

O'Prey's father, Ian O'Prey said his heart sank when he heard about the crash on Friday night.

"I just dropped the phone. I knew my son was possibly dead," he said. 

He knew his son, Mark O'Prey, was inside but the body was not recovered until Monday.

Police said that they couldn’t get to the bodies until the helicopter was removed because the wreckage was in the way. 

"Our absolute priority has been to locate the bodies of people who were within the pub when the helicopter came down and recover them safely,” said investigating officer Rose Fitzpatrick.

The other victims in the pub were identified earlier as Samuel McGhee, 56, and Gary Arthur, 48. The three people killed on board the helicopter were pilot David Traill, 51, and police constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.