THE family of a Neilston man who died in the Clutha disaster paid an emotional tribute to him today as an inquiry into the tragedy got underway.

Colin Gibson, 33, was one of 10 people who died when a police helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha bar, in Glasgow, on November 29, 2013.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry opened this morning in a temporary court at the city's Hampden Stadium, before Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull.

A minute's silence was held at the start of the FAI, in memory of those who died.

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Personal statements about some of those who lost their lives were then read out.

Mr Gibson's family described him as a thoughtful person who went out of his way to help others.

In a statement, they told the inquiry: "If you were lucky enough to meet him, you knew you had, as he left a lasting impression on you.

"Ever since he was a young boy, he enjoyed helping people.

"He had never visited the Clutha bar before. Colin just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Mr Gibson, who was celebrating a friend's birthday on the night of the disaster, was one of seven Clutha customers who died.

The others were Samuel McGhee, 56, Robert Jenkins, 61, John McGarrigle, 57, Mark O'Prey, 44, Joe Cusker, 59, and 48-year-old Gary Arthur, from Paisley.

The tragedy also claimed the lives of 51-year-old helicopter pilot David Traill, from Lochwinnoch, and crew members PC Kirsty Neilis, 36, and PC Tony Collins, 43.

No statement was provided by relatives of Mr Traill.

The first person to give evidence at the FAI was 30-year-old witness Andrew Bergin.

He told how he was walking by the riverside on the night in question and heard the helicopter make "a spluttering noise."

Mr Bergin said: "It wasn't any lower than I would have seen it before.

"The tail of the helicopter dipped and pointed to the ground. Simultaneously, the light on the helicopter went out.

"It seemed to me that the rotor stopped spinning. It was still turning but not under power. It seemed to immediately lose height as soon as the spluttering occurred.

"Everything happened more or less at the same time."

The purpose of the FAI is to determine the cause of the deaths, establish whether they could have been prevented and enable the sheriff to make recommendations that could prevent fatalities in similar circumstances.

More than 100 people were at the Clutha when the helicopter, returning to its base on the banks of the River Clyde, crashed through the roof.

An Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) report published in 2015 found two fuel supply switches were off and Mr Traill did not follow emergency procedures after a fuel warning in the cockpit.

The Crown Office has previously said there is insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings.

A total of 57 Crown witnesses are expected to give evidence at the inquiry.

Police took more than 2,000 statements as part of preparations for the FAI, while the Crown has around 1,400 productions.

The inquiry is expected to involve around three months of evidence, spread over six calendar months this year.

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