WE DON’T WANT TO POINT THE FINGER
Family speak out over Clutha probe
The family of a Cambuslang man who died in the Clutha helicopter disaster have said they aren’t interested in blaming anyone in the aftermath of the crash investigation.
Joe Cusker (59) was one of seven people in the packed Clutha Vaults pub killed when a police helicopter crashed through the roof on Friday, November 29, 2013. The three people on board the helicopter also died.
On Friday, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch released their findings into the crash.
Some families have been upset at the lack of information in the conclusions, while others have pointed to the fact that the helicopter pilot, David Traill, apparently cancelled a low fuel warning alarm five times.
However, Joe’s stepson, David McClemont (33), told the Reformer this week he didn’t want to feel “bitter”.
He said: “One thing they told us at the briefing is that they know the sequence of the warnings but not when they happened.
“You can get fuel warnings just with fuel swishing about the tank and it’s very possible he was getting other readings telling him there was plenty of fuel in the tank.
“The worst we can say is that we just don’t know and I would not like to start speculating on the pilot’s reputation. He has a family, the same as us and they are suffering too.
“I don’t want to feel bitter towards anyone.”
Joe Cusker’s family have said they are satisfied with the work done by investigators into the Clutha disaster.
In their report, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch recommended that police helicopters should be equipped with black box recorders.
The probe also found two transfer pumps that could have provided fuel to the engines were turned off, and that an emergency-landing procedure was not followed.
But the AAIB admitted the reasons behind the catastrophic chain of events would remain “unknown” because of the lack of an on-board flight recorder.
A Fatal Accident Inquiry will now be held, with the Crown Office saying they hope to start “as soon as possible.”
Joe’s stepson, David McClemont (pictured below), said: “I want to thank the investigators, clearly they did a power of work and did not have much to work with. They have been very thorough, they went to every length to work out what happened.
“The next stage is the FAI. We’d like to draw a line under this and this is another step towards doing that.
“That could not proceed until this investigation was over, but we’re hoping it would be quite quick. Certainly with the bin lorry, it seemed to proceed quickly.
“It happened and nothing can change that, nothing can bring those people back. Not everyone will feel like this, but I don’t feel I need to know everything, it’s just a case of what lessons we can learn.
“It’s good they have recommended black box recorders, hopefully if something like this happens again we can get the answers more easily.”
Joe, who was married to David’s mother, Margaret (60), in 2011, had been with his friends in the Clutha and was originally expected to survive the crash.
He spent nearly two weeks in intensive care at Glasgow Royal Infirmary with a number of injuries. He passed away on December 12, 2013, leaving behind a broken- hearted family. As well as Margaret and David, he also left a son, Kieran (29) and two stepdaughters, Tina and Yvonne.
Originally from the Partick area, Joe moved to Cambuslang with his parents and also lived for some time in Rutherglen.
He worked as a housing officer in Cambuslang, first for Glasgow District Council and then South Lanarkshire Council before taking early retirement. He continued to volunteer with Rutherglen and Cambuslang Housing Association.
He was well known for his keen interest in politics and was a committed socialist.
After his death, Margaret, who suffers from fibromyalgia, moved into the flat David shared with his wife, Caroline ( 33) and young daughter, Molly, who turns three next month, in Cambuslang.
The family have now moved to a new home in Blantyre. The couple have a second daughter, Megan who is five months.
David admits the public nature of Joe’s death has made it harder to move on: “When you lose someone in normal circumstances, after two years you are able to move on, but with the investigation and the public nature of the accident has made it harder. “My mother is doing as well as you can imagine. When we were in the flat we knew it was only temporary, there was always that feeling we were in limbo. Where we are now has plenty of space and we feel like we can start moving forward.
“She has a good circle of friends who still take her out and keep her busy.
“I’ve not been back to the Clutha. I would not rule it out but it’s not something I feel the need to do.”
Victim Joe Cusker was one of 10 people killed in the Clutha disaster
Wreckage The helicopter