Friday 22 September 2017

Eight confirmed dead in helicopter pub crash

Rescue workers cover the wreckage of a police helicopter which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow, Scotland November 30, 2013. The police helicopter crashed into the pub in Glasgow on Friday night, causing multiple injuries as dust and debris was thrown across the busy drinking hole during a concert, eye witnesses said. Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said people should prepare for the likelihood of fatalities. Three people were on board the helicopter, police said. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Rescue workers cover the wreckage of a police helicopter which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow, Scotland November 30, 2013. The police helicopter crashed into the pub in Glasgow on Friday night, causing multiple injuries as dust and debris was thrown across the busy drinking hole during a concert, eye witnesses said. Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said people should prepare for the likelihood of fatalities. Three people were on board the helicopter, police said. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Rescue workers cover the wreckage of a police helicopter which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow, Scotland November 30, 2013. The police helicopter crashed into the pub in Glasgow on Friday night, causing multiple injuries as dust and debris was thrown across the busy drinking hole during a concert, eye witnesses said. Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said people should prepare for the likelihood of fatalities. Three people were on board the helicopter, police said. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Rescue workers cover the wreckage of a police helicopter which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow, Scotland November 30, 2013. The police helicopter crashed into the pub in Glasgow on Friday night, causing multiple injuries as dust and debris was thrown across the busy drinking hole during a concert, eye witnesses said. Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said people should prepare for the likelihood of fatalities. Three people were on board the helicopter, police said. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Ambulance crews wait by a stretcher at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar.
Ambulance crews at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar.
Police and Scottish Fire and Rescue services at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow
Ambulance crew at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.
Rescue workers examine the wreckage of a police helicopter, which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow
Police set up a cordon at the scene of the crash. Twitter credit: @LouMRobertson
The helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow
Picture taken with permission from Jan Hollands Twitter feed JanHollands@Janney_h of the helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
The scene from The Clutha pub in Glasgow after a helicopter crashed into it
The scene of the helicopter crash in Glasgow tonight. Twitter credit: @Janney_H
A picture of the damage caused when a helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow. Twitter credit: @rupertgmorris
A picture of the damage caused when a helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow. Twitter credit: @Janney_h

Eight people have been confirmed dead after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow city centre late last night.

Another 14 were seriously injured when the police helicopter crashed into the roof of a packed Glasgow pub, trapping many inside in choking dust and debris.

Witnesses said the helicopter dropped from the sky like a stone onto the busy Clutha Pub in Scotland's biggest city on Friday night while more than 100 people were crammed inside, listening to a live music concert.

The helicopter crew - two police officers and the civilian pilot - were among the dead and the others were discovered inside the wreckage of the building, Chief Constable of Police Scotland Stephen House told reporters. He said 14 others remained in hospital with serious injuries.

The 12-metre (40 foot) helicopter - a twin-engine Eurocopter EC135 T2, made by a subsidiary of EADS - spiralled into the pub in the centre of Glasgow, destroying part of the roof.

The mangled wreckage remained embedded in the middle of the building as the search continued through Saturday.

"We are still in ... a rescue and recovery situation," House said. "Until the helicopter is out of the way we won't know what ... is going on underneath."

Immediately after the crash, revellers caked in dust and blood rushed out into the street. Passers-by including the local member of parliament formed a human chain to bring out the injured from the building.

"It was fairly busy, we were all having a nice time and then there was like a 'whoosh' noise," Grace MacLean, who was in the pub at the time, told the BBC.

"There was no bang, no explosion, and then there was what seemed like smoke, and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down, and then it started to come down more and someone started screaming, and the whole pub filled with dust and you couldn't see anything, you couldn't breathe."

"BLACK DAY FOR SCOTLAND"

Tearful relatives and friends of those caught up in the incident gathered during the day, some laying flowers at the scene, and Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron were among those to express their sympathy.

"This is a black day for Glasgow and for Scotland," said Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, noting that Saturday was St Andrew's Day, Scotland's national day.

Celebrations in Glasgow were cancelled, flags were flown at half-mast on government buildings and a special service was held at Glasgow's Roman Catholic cathedral.

Police said it was too early to speculate on what caused the Eurocopter, popular with emergency services worldwide, to come down. Witnesses said it did not appear to have caught fire.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch began an inquiry and Eurocopter said its experts were on standby to help.

The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) said safety issues had to be examined after a number of fatal helicopter crashes in recent years.

In August, four people were killed when a Super Puma L2, also made by Eurocopter, crashed into the sea off Scotland's Shetland Islands with oil workers on board, the fifth accident in four years in the area involving different models of the aircraft. Investigators said there was no evidence of technical failure.

"Whilst there will be understandable questions on why this happened, it is our experience that speculation about causes is often wide of the mark," BALPA said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, trends in helicopter safety (are) a matter of concern after a number of recent incidents."

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