Glasgow helicopter crash: Clegg praises 'exceptional' crash response

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Glasgow was "united in sadness and grief" while on a visit to the crash scene

Nick Clegg has paid tribute to the 'exceptional' response of the emergency services and the people of Glasgow following the helicopter crash at a busy city-centre pub.

During a visit to the scene with Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, the deputy prime minister laid flowers and spoke to emergency workers.

Nine people died when the aircraft fell from the sky "like a stone" into the Clutha bar on Friday night.

Eleven people are still in hospital.

Police took Mr Clegg, who was also accompanied by Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson, inside the cordon to see where the helicopter came through the roof of the Clutha bar at 22:25 on Friday.

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We stand ready to provide help if and when it is needed”

End Quote Nick Clegg Deputy Prime Minister

After laying flowers and reading tributes left by members of the public, Mr Clegg said: "The city is united in sadness and grief but also united in very heartfelt sympathy for those affected by the terrible events on Friday night, and also united in unequivocal support for the exceptional job done by the emergency services who have worked tirelessly in very difficult circumstances, and have also had to mourn, or are mourning the loss of their friends and colleagues."

He added: "I just think it is exceptional how everybody has reacted. This has touched everybody, every family and every individual."

UK government help

Mr Clegg said the UK government was willing to help the city council, which has pledged to set up a fund for those people bereaved and injured in the tragedy.

"We stand ready to provide help if and when it is needed," he said.

Robert Jenkins, 61, and Mark O'Prey, 44, both from East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire, 33-year-old Colin Gibson, from Ayr, and John McGarrigle, 57, from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, were named early on Tuesday morning.

Two other victims killed inside the pub had earlier been named as 48-year-old Gary Arthur from Paisley and Samuel McGhee, 56, from Glasgow.

All three of the helicopter's crew - pilot David Traill, 51, and PCs Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43 - died as it returned from a police operation.

In a statement on the crash to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Alex Salmond said the bodies of those who had died would now be released to their families for burial.

He also pledged the Scottish government would match funds raised by Glasgow City Councils for the victims of the crash and their families. and expressed his "admiration and total support" for the bravery of the rescue teams, praising their "extraordinary hard work and determination".

'Truly remarkable'

Mr Salmond thanked Prime Minister David Cameron for the offer of military assistance, which was not needed but was "nevertheless appreciated", and said messages of condolence had been received from the Queen, Pope Francis and governments around the world.

Earlier, the first minister signed a book of condolence at Glasgow City Chambers.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont called the response of the emergency services and the people of Glasgow "truly remarkable".

She added: "A lesson in strength and humanity went out from Glasgow on Friday night."

Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, praised Glasgow City Council for the handling of the crash and said "Glasgow stood together".

The wreckage of the three-tonne Eurocopter was removed from the building on Monday.

The site is still subject to a police investigation but management of the scene has been handed over to the city council.

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