MSPs united over the need to improve helicopter safety but not over how to achieve it yesterday.
North-east Labour MSP Richard Baker pressed the Scottish Government to back a full public inquiry into the five crashes that have occurred in the past four years.
In his member’s debate he also called on ministers to back proposed legislation to speed up the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) system and to give subsequent recommendations legal weight.
One of the main concerns is that relatives of the 16 people killed in the 2009 Super Puma crash will have to wait four years for an FAI.
“This parliament can act to ensure there are no longer unnecessarily protracted waits for FAIs, prolonging the suffering for families seeking answers and potentially delaying action which requires to be taken to improve safety,” he said.
He had the backing of Shetland Liberal Democrat MSP who said: “It is nothing short of outrageous that four years have gone by and families and loved one still do not have a definitive account of what went wrong. The system is clearly not working.”
Supporting a public inquiry, Mr Scott said rather than carry out its own investigation, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should be the ones giving evidence.
SNP MSPs felt the various inquiries launched after August’s helicopter crash off Shetland – by the CAA, operators, the Commons transport committee and review of seating arrangements – should be allowed complete their work first.
Watch video of the helicopter safety debate below
Aberdeen South and North Kincardine SNP MSP Maureen Watt said: “It is important to wait for the outcome of inquiries rather than rushing to any particular answer on these crashes.”
Aberdeen Donside SNP MSP Mark McDonald said: “We could get to the situation where the landscape of inquiries becomes cluttered and there is a point at which one must say ‘where do we step back and allow some of the work being done to take place?’”
Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart while he had concerns around the number of inquiries, their findings would inform the FAI into August’s fatal crash.
“We need to see the improved safety standards without a doubt but I don’t think and early FAI would be an effective one,” he said.