Wednesday 25 April 2018

Glasgow helicopter crash: death toll rises to nine

Rescue workers lift helicopter from Clutha pub roof

The Glasgow police helicopter crash death toll now stands at nine, after another body was found last night inside the collapsed Clutha Vaults pub.

This morning, rescue workers lifted the helicopter from the building and police have warned that yet more bodies could be recovered from the wreckage, as the search is completed over the coming hours.

Five people died inside the busy pub on Friday night along with two police officers and a civilian pilot after the helicopter, according to eyewitnesses, “dropped like stone” on to the packed venue.

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.

“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.”

Speaking from the scene of the crash, Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “Six bodies in total have been taken to the mortuary and there is a total of nine fatalities confirmed at this point.”

A fifth victim has been named as Samuel McGhee, 56, of Glasgow.

Among the four other deceased victims who have been named are the pilot and two constables who were on board the Bond-operated Eurocopter EC135 police helicopter.

Pilot David Traill, 51, died along with officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43, as they returned from a police operation.

Gary Arthur, 48, from Paisley, was among those inside the pub who died. The four other victims who were in the venue have not yet been identified.

Ms Fitzpatrick said: “This remains an ongoing investigation and search focused on the Clutha Vaults pub. The site is extremely challenging and the efforts of colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and investigators have been painstaking.

“We can now confirm that Samuel McGhee died during the incident on Friday. Our thoughts are with his family and friends tonight as they are with all those affected by this tragedy.

“Sadly I can also confirm the discovery of a further body within the site. This takes to nine the total number of people who died on Friday night."

The crash is likely to once again raise questions about the safety of helicopters after a spate of recent accidents.

The popular venue situated close to the River Clyde, was hosting live music and was packed with more than 100 people when the tragedy happened at 10.25pm on Friday night.

Twelve of 32 people taken to hospital continue to receive treatment, with three in intensive care.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said that both constables were members of the helicopter unit and had both previously been commended for acts of bravery.

Yesterday hundreds of people attended a service at Glasgow Cathedral, near the Royal Infirmary, where prayers were said and candles lit for those affected by the crash.


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