"The investigation into the Clutha helicopter crash has reached a significant stage and Crown Counsel, the most senior lawyers in Crown Office, have formally instructed a Fatal Accident Inquiry be held.
“Following submission of a detailed report by the Helicopter Team, Crown Counsel have also concluded that there is insufficient evidence available to justify instructing criminal proceedings.
“In coming to this decision, Crown Counsel have considered the evidence available, and the recommendations of the inquiry team, and an assessment of what information may reasonably become available in the future has also been taken into account.
“Crown Counsel have instructed that the appropriate form of proceedings at this stage is an inquiry into the deaths of all who lost their lives in terms of the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016. Although the evidence currently available would not justify criminal proceedings, the Crown reserves the right to raise criminal proceedings should evidence in support of that course of action become available to prosecutors.
“The Helicopter Team will now work with Crown Counsel to focus further on the issues that it is considered the inquiry should address and put in place in the preparations for initiating the formal procedure for an inquiry.
“The investigation by the police, with officers working closely with our Helicopter Team has, accordingly, necessarily been wide ranging. It has involved the collection and consideration of a significant volume of documentation, including highly technical manuals and guidance, as well as the taking of detailed statements from witnesses, including professionals in the aviation industry. Some of that material and information has been ingathered from organisations based abroad. In an investigation such as this, the Police and the Crown require to rely on the cooperation of companies and organisations in relation to, for example, provision of material and availability of witnesses for interview.
“COPFS appreciate that the wait for a decision regarding proceedings must have been extremely difficult and stressful for those affected and we will keep them informed of significant developments.”