02/12/2013 10:11 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Glasgow Helicopter Crash Response Defended As Relatives Say It's Too Slow

Officials have defended the response to the Glasgow helicopter crash after relatives of missing people said it was taking "too long".

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she understood the "frustration and anguish" as people waited for news of loved ones unaccounted following the crash on Friday night which killed at least nine people.

The sister of Mark O'Prey, who has not been seen since the aircraft came down, told BBC Radio Scotland: "We just need to know. It's too long now, really.


"We feel as a family that the priority is given to the integrity and keeping that helicopter intact, which is no use to us."

At the same time air crash investigators have said no mayday call was made before the crash.

David Miller, deputy chief inspector of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), said the helicopter made a vertical descent into the Clutha bar in Glasgow and the pilot made no mayday call.

He said: "I can confirm that the helicopter does not have a flight data recorder, however it does have a significant number of modern electronic systems on board and it may be possible to recover recorded data from those systems.

"There were no emergency transmissions from the pilot before this accident."

On Monday the wreckage of the police helicopter was lifted from the building.

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The wreckage of the helicopter is about to be lifted free

Three people on board the aircraft died when it landed on the Clutha Vaults bar as it returned from a police operation in Glasgow on Friday night.

Six people inside the pub were killed and police have not ruled out the possibility that more bodies could be recovered from the building.

The remains of the three-tonne Eurocopter have been lifted from the scene as the recovery operation and accident investigation continues.

Sturgeon said: "It's important that the helicopter is removed in a way that firstly preserves the dignity of the victims inside the pub, but secondly doesn't impose any unnecessary risks on the people carrying out this work.

"I fully and completely understand the frustration and the anguish for people who are waiting for news."

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John McGarrigle holds a mobile phone showing a photo of him with his father

John McGarrigle said his father John Snr was in the Clutha and has not yet been found.

Speaking at the crash site, he said: "I just want the phone call we were told we were going to get from the police.

"I know he was in there, there's eyewitness accounts from people in there. My dad's been a local in there for years."

The rotor blades and part of the tail were removed on Sunday and the fuselage was secured and winched slowly through the roof of the building on Monday morning. Specialist officers stood on either side of the aircraft as it was raised inch by inch by a crane.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer David Goodhew said: "Crews have been tunnelling underneath the helicopter to try to find further casualties and remove those where necessary.

"The helicopter is sheeted up. It's extensively damaged.

"We will move it out, it will be in the air for a short while then be placed on the ground.

"As soon as it is on the ground, crews will be immediately put back into the building to complete their search and hopefully we will have completed the search within the next 90 minutes to two hours."