People remain trapped in Glasgow pub following police helicopter crash
Fire and rescue services continue operation to rescue people after helicopter crashes into pub
A number of people remain trapped inside a Glasgow pub this morning after a police helicopter crashed onto the roof.
Police sniffer dogs have been brought onto the scene, and officials say they have made contact with a number of people trapped under the debris.
The helicopter came down on the roof of the Clutha bar, on the banks of the Clyde in the city centre, at 10.25pm last night.
A major incident has been declared and First Minister Alex Salmond has warned that "we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities".
Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said it was difficult to tell how many people were trapped inside.
"It's a case of working hard within the building to try and determine how many casualties are there," he told reporters.
"We are determined that we are going to get the building stable and we will be in there to carry out those rescues."
He added: "There was a number of casualties removed earlier on at the start of the incident.
"They have been taken to hospital and other locations."
Mr Ramsay added: "Our officers are working very hard in what is a very complex and hard environment for them tonight.
"We are in the process at the moment of making the building stable, it's very unsafe.
"We've had some contact and we're working away just now to make sure that the building is safe in order to get people out."
There are 125 firefighters at the scene, some of whom had been working in the cellar of the bar and on its roof, Mr Ramsay said.
Numerous casualties had been removed with injuries he said were "consistent with this type of incident".
"There was a range of casualties from casualties who were able to walk and others who required assistance from the fire service and ambulance service at the scene."
He said the search and rescue operation was proceeding in a "methodical" way using crews trained in shoring up unstable buildings, excavating into collapsed structures and seeking and identifying casualties using specialist equipment.
"The building is unstable, our crews are trained to provide added stability and they're doing that at this moment in time," he said.
The operation was drawing on resources from across Scotland with crews and equipment from Dundee, Falkirk and Edinburgh involved.
Mr Ramsay praised the firefighters who are working hard at the scene.
"Without any thought to their own safety they have entered these premises to carry out a number of rescues, make contact with casualties and work in that environment for as long as it lasts.
"As long as there are rescues to be conducted we will be here to do that. We're here for as long as it takes."
Police Scotland confirmed the helicopter involved was a Eurocopter EC135 T2 with three people on board - two police officers and a civilian pilot.
They said it is too early to give details about the casualties or why the helicopter came down.
A full probe involving the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the emergency services is already under way.
Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick told reporters: "Firstly, my thoughts tonight are with those who have been affected by this terrible incident and those who have responded so professionally in such difficult circumstances.
"At 10.25pm yesterday evening, the Police Scotland helicopter - a Eurocopter EC135 T2 - came down on the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street, Glasgow.
"There were three people on board - two police officers and a civilian pilot. There were a number of customers inside the bar at the time.
"We are co-ordinating the operation tonight with colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service, who are working to make the scene safe and recover people from the scene.
"That rescue operation is clearly ongoing. It is too early at this stage to provide any details around why the helicopter came down.
"I can confirm there are a number of casualties but it is too early at this stage to provide further details. We will provide further updates at the appropriate time."
She added: "A full investigation has already begun and this is being carried out jointly between Police Scotland and the Air Accident Investigation Branch, under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
"Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service are currently fully engaged in the operation.
"Specialist teams from fire and ambulance services are on the scene. Work is ongoing to make the building safe.
"We are also working closely with partners in the local health service and local authority."
Police have set up a telephone number for members of the public who are concerned about relatives who may have been involved in the crash. It is 0800 092 0410.
The First Minister said the Scottish Government's resilience operation has been mobilised.
"Our thoughts are with everyone involved with the incident in Glasgow," he said.
"However given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities."
The Scottish Ambulance Service confirmed that multiple ambulance crews and the Special Operations Team were at the scene.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: ''Well rehearsed major emergency arrangements have been enacted and our hospitals were immediately placed on stand-by to receive casualties.
''Our staff both on site and in our hospitals have worked closely with other emergency services to respond to this tragic situation.''
One image of the crash showed the dark blue helicopter on the roof with yellow ''POLICE'' insignia on part of the wreckage.
Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said: ''Bond Air Services can confirm that a police service helicopter was involved in an accident earlier this evening in Glasgow city centre.
''The police have declared a major incident after the Eurocopter EC135 T2 - with a crew of three consisting of two police officers and a pilot - came down on the roof of a pub in Stockwell Street at 10.25pm.
''Bond is working with Police Scotland and the emergency services who responded immediately and remain at the scene at the present time. No further details are available at this stage.''
An AAIB spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident and we will investigate."
A resilience team from Glasgow City Council was also present to offer support.
All roads leading to the junction of Clyde Street, Stockwell Street, Bridgegate and the Victoria Bridge have been closed.
Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ''Absolutely awful news about a helicopter crashing into the Clutha. All my thoughts are with everyone involved & the emergency services''.
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: ''My thoughts are with everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow - and the emergency services working.''
The Rt Rev Lorna Hood, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: ''We are all praying and concerned for those caught up in the tragic events of tonight in Glasgow.
''Already stories of those caught up in a tragedy forming a human chain to help those trapped show the spirit of the people of Glasgow and their care for one another."
Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "This is a very testing time for Glasgow, but the city has responded with typical courage and compassion.
"My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident and with the emergency services who are still working at the scene in incredibly challenging circumstances.
"I have been in contact with staff throughout the night as they have responded to support the public and emergency services.
"It is obviously a difficult time for everyone involved and the council will continue to offer any support it can in the coming hours and days."
Vic Emery, chairman of the Scottish Police Authority, said: "My thoughts, and those of all in the authority, are with the relatives of all those affected by this very serious incident.
"The police and all the emergency services are working hard to help everyone involved and I am very grateful to them for their professionalism and compassion.
"The SPA will offer all the support and assistance we can now and in the days ahead."