Families' heartache as they await publication of Clutha bar tragedy report

Families' heartache as they await publication of Clutha bar tragedy report

FAMILIES of the victims of the Clutha bar tragedy in Scotland have accused crash investigators of withholding details from a report on the incident which is due for publication within weeks.

They have yet to see any conclusions deduced by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch who have been trying to piece together the events that brought a police helicopter crashing down onto the Glasgow pub in November 2013.

Louise O’Prey, whose brother Mark was killed in the tragedy, said this week: “It’s a year-and-a-half ago now and we’ve still got no answers.”

She added: “I’ve lost faith, to be honest. We keep hearing that there’s going to be news and there will be some closure for the families, then nothing happens.”

Andrew Henderson, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, which represents some of the families, believes that they should be allowed to see the AAIB report in advance of publication.


Mona O’Prey, 72, from Cambuslang, near Glasgow, specifically wants to know the exact circumstances of her son Mark’s death, claiming the family have heard nothing since a report last year from AAIB saying the helicopter suffered double engine failure.

In an open letter which begins ‘Dear Anybody’, Mrs O’Prey reveals her fears that her son was found alive in the pub immediately after the crash but was not rescued because the building was unsafe.

Her heartfelt letter goes on to include a desperate plea for the truth.

“I asked if I could speak to the female rescuer who was the last person to see my son alive. I was told I could not. She was seemingly traumatised. I don’t believe this,” she says.

“The police family liaison people, several days later, showed me an official document stating Mark died instantly. I asked to keep this document but was told it had to go back.

“This was all lies as, at a subsequent meeting, I was then informed that my son did not die instantly. No one seems to know when he died.

“My nightmare continues. Did he lie all weekend alive?”


The 44-year-old window cleaner from East Kilbride had gone to the Clutha to watch his favourite ska band Esperanza on the night that the tragedy struck.

A judo blackbelt who was a member of Mensa, Mr O’Prey left a son, Liam, behind, who is now 16.

A total of 10 people died and more than 30 were injured when the helicopter crashed into the popular Glasgow bar on November 29, 2013.

Among the victims was John McGarrigle, a popular local poet with roots in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. The 57-year-old was initially regarded as missing.

At the time his son John Jr expressed his frustration with the delay and lack of information that he was given following the incident.