THE fiancée of Clutha helicopter pilot David Traill has slammed the Fatal Accident Inquiry which blamed him for the disaster.

Dr Lucy Thomas has broken a six-year silence since the tragedy which claimed the life of Lochwinnoch man Captain Traill and nine others.

Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull said the crash happened because Captain Traill had ignored five warnings he received during the flight.

READ MORE: Clutha pilot 'failed to follow emergency procedures'

In a 173-page judgment, he ruled that was a "conscious decision" which had "fatal consequences" for the people who died.

The police helicopter crashed into the roof of The Clutha pub, in Glasgow, on the evening of November 29, 2013.

Dr Thomas, 47, has blasted the findings and said the ruling left her feeling "distressed" that her partner of more than four years had been blamed by the sheriff.

The Gazette: David Traill David Traill

She added: "For almost six years, I have remained silent in order to protect my privacy. However, such is my strength of feeling since the Sheriff Principal's determination on the inquiry into the Clutha helicopter crash, I feel compelled to make this statement.

"I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from so many people – many of whom don't know me and didn't know Dave. I am eternally grateful for this.

"It is my understanding that, due to misleading information from the aircraft fuel gauge and display system, Dave had only moments to make decisions and carry out tasks in an attempt to respond to this issue.

"It is also my understanding that he should have had a significantly longer timescale in which to do so before the helicopter would lose both engines.

"The manufacturer's aircraft maintenance manual incorrectly recorded that the flameout time between engines was three to four minutes. This was incorrect information.

The Gazette: (Top: left to right) David Traill; PC Kirsty Nelis; PC Tony Collins; Gary Arthur; Samuel McGhee (Bottom: left to right) Colin Gibson; Robert Jenkins; Mark O'Prey; John McGarrigle; Joe Cusker(Top: left to right) David Traill; PC Kirsty Nelis; PC Tony Collins; Gary Arthur; Samuel McGhee (Bottom: left to right) Colin Gibson; Robert Jenkins; Mark O'Prey; John McGarrigle; Joe Cusker

"The correct time available should have been in excess of one minute but, due to the design of the fuel tanks allowing for fuel from one tank to slop over into another, he had only 32 seconds.

"That 32 seconds ended in tragedy and the loss of his and nine other valuable lives. This has devastated the lives of all who surround them and impacted on so many more."

Among the other victims of the tragedy were Paisley man Gary Arthur, 48, and 33-year-old Colin Gibson, from Neilston, who were both customers in The Clutha that night.

Dr Thomas, an A&E medic, claimed the Sheriff Principal's determination "does no justice" to the memories of the victims.

READ MORE: Don’t find Renfrewshire Clutha pilot at fault, his fiancée urges sheriff

She said: "It insults the intelligence of those who know of the evidence presented at the inquiry and are aware of the content of the initial AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) report.

"Disbelief has been expressed by many family members of those who died and by members of the public at the conclusion drawn by Sheriff Principal Turnbull, who incredulously stated that Dave consciously took risks which caused the accident.

"This expression of disbelief speaks volumes and means much more to me than the opinion of the Sheriff Principal.

The Gazette: Dr Lucy Thomas Dr Lucy Thomas

"I find it distressing and incomprehensible that given months, not moments, to consider the facts, the Sheriff Principal has come to this conclusion. He chose not to concentrate on the fact that the EC135 model of helicopter has a history of faults.

"Instead, the Sheriff Principal has opted to sully the distinguished reputation of a pilot with an exemplary record who was renowned for his sense of responsibility and his regard for the safety of his crew.

"The opportunity for closure and maybe some peace for so many people has been denied."

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: "The Sheriff Principal carefully considered all the evidence put before the inquiry before making his determination, which fully sets out the reasons for his decisions."

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