Glasgow helicopter crash may put Eurocopter on the spot
A file photo of new police helicopters, Eurocopter 135, landing on an airfield during a ceremony - (Reuters)

The police helicopter crash on the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow raises questions about Eurocopter as this is the latest in a series of incidents involving the firm's aircraft in recent years.

While emergency officials are working to rescue the trapped revellers, the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has launched a full investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

"A full investigation has already begun and this is being carried out jointly between Police Scotland and the Air Accident Investigation Branch, under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service," said Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick.

The aircraft, with two police personnel and a civilian pilot onboard, was identified by the authorities as an EC135 Type 2 with the registration G-SPAO. The wrecked helicopter was being operated by Bond Air Services for the Strathclyde Police Air Support Unit and is believed to have been built in 2007.

"Bond Air Services can confirm that a police service helicopter was involved in an accident earlier this evening in Glasgow city centre. Bond is working with Police Scotland and the emergency services who responded immediately and remain at the scene at the present time," said an official statement from Bond Air Services.

Eyewitnesses described how the helicopter fell like a stone on the packed pub during a live music event. However, the aircraft did not appear to have caught fire.

A similar police helicopter, EC135, crashed in 2002 in Ayrshire, but all the people on board escaped.

During the last four years, two other helicopter models of the manufacturing and support company Eurocopter have suffered five such incidents, according to reports. The crash in April 2009, which killed all 16 on board an AS332 helicopter, was caused by a gearbox failure, said the AAIB.

The latest crash may throw up a number of new questions over the helicopters supplied by Eurocopter.