'I was traumatised and blamed myself': Survivors of Glasgow helicopter crash speak out about tragedy 10 years on

29 November 2023, 07:09

The Clutha disaster left 10 people dead
The Clutha disaster left 10 people dead. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Alan Zycinski

A survivor of the Glasgow helicopter crash has told LBC he's stopped blaming himself for lives lost in the disaster a decade ago today.

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Seven people and three crew members were killed when a Police Scotland aircraft crashed into the Clutha bar on November 29 2013.

More than thirty others were hurt in the incident which saw hundreds of emergency service workers involved in a rescue operation by the River Clyde.

Survivor Danny Docherty was left with a head wound that needed 12 staples but his friend Joe Cusker died from his injuries in hospital.

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He told LBC: "Where I am mentally is different to where I was ten years ago. I was traumatised at the time and blaming myself for things that I shouldn't have been blaming myself for.

"I'd been doing first aid for 30 odd years but in my mind just nothing clicked into place.

The Clutha tragedy left 10 dead
The Clutha tragedy left 10 dead. Picture: Alamy

"I realise now I would've been more of a hinderance than a help. I was concussed. I've forgiven myself for that."

And Danny told us that since the crash he no longer takes any days for granted and tries to make the most of life with a happy frame of mind.

But he has experienced flashbacks to the night leading to his friend's death.

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He said: "I was in a shop in Tunisia and I heard a helicopter outside.

"I just panicked and gave a guy everything I had in my pockets to get me away from there.

"Something clicked and that was it. I totally lost it."

Danny Docherty has spoken of the impact the tragedy had on him
Danny Docherty has spoken of the impact the tragedy had on him. Picture: LBC

The Clutha partially reopened in 2015 and the Clutha Trust charity was set up in its name by owner Alan Crossan.

He also spoke to LBC about his memories of the disaster ten years ago.

He said: "What I experienced doesn't compare to the families and the injured and the people who were killed in that accident.

"But you do go back to it especially at this time of year and it always takes me back to when I was standing across the river from the Clutha and you knew what was happening.

"I was standing there and it's just a memory of total silence. Silence that goes right through your heart.

"You're looking at it in silence and this strange way and when you think back on that time it always triggers that memory which is a bit tough sometimes.

"But it's nothing compared to what other people will be going through."

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