Prince visits Glasgow Clutha helicopter crash scene
- 6 December 2013
- From the section Glasgow & West Scotland
Prince Charles has visited the scene where nine people died when a police helicopter crashed into a Glasgow pub.
Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, spent about 10 minutes inside the Clutha bar, surveying the destroyed interior.
He also met about 40 health workers at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
The crash, at 22:25 on 29 November, killed six people inside the pub and the three helicopter crew. Of the 32 people injured, 10 remain in hospital.
During his visit, the Duke of Rothesay heard about the complex rescue and recovery operation from Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House.
He also spoke to Alasdair Hay, chief officer of Scottish Fire and Rescue, and Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Alan Crossan, owner of the Clutha bar, met the prince and said he appreciated the visit.
"It's a special thing for people who have been affected and for the emergency services, who did an incredible job," he said.
Charles went on to meet a number of crash survivors including Calum Grierson and John Robson.
Mr Grierson, 59, from Hamilton in Lanarkshire, said a friend called Alan pulled him and others from the Clutha.
Mr Robson, 62, from Glasgow, said: "I thought a bomb had gone off. It just went black. It was terrifying.
"The next thing we were on the ground. Then Alan came in shouting 'don't panic, we'll get you out'."
The prince met around 40 staff including nurses, doctors, ambulance staff and porters who treated the injured in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
The prince spent around 30 minutes chatting, telling them: "Well done everybody, I'm very proud of you."
Among those the prince met was NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde chairman Andrew Robertson.
He said: "Having the prince here was a great boost for everyone.
"It was another mark of real appreciation for our staff and what they responded to. The prince showed great humanity."
More than 100 off-duty staff responded on the night if the accident and came into help across the city's hospitals, said the health board.
The prince also spoke to Mr Alastair Ireland, the city's clinical director of emergency services, who rushed to the Royal Infirmary after hearing about the disaster on the news.
He said: "People started arriving at the hospital seven minutes after the crash, and we received nine patients very quickly.
"There is a plan for this type of situation and we know what to do. Specialist teams came to help from other parts of the hospital, and we were able to do initial examinations and treat people really rapidly."
The injured were also taken to the Victoria and Western Infirmaries, and some were later transferred to the Southern General.
Mr Ireland added: "We're very grateful for all the help we got at all three sites. Staff heard what had happened and just came in from home.
"Three former junior doctors I'd worked with just turned up.
"I was also very struck by the calmness of the staff and the patients."
Mr Ireland confirmed that one patient had been discharged yesterday.
Six of the injured are still being treated at the Royal Infirmary and four at the Southern General.
Two police constables and a civilian pilot were killed when the helicopter crashed on to the roof of the busy pub on Friday night while returning from a police operation.
The crew members were captain David Traill, 51, and officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.
Six people died inside the pub where live music was being played at the time.
They were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, Colin Gibson, 33, John McGarrigle, 57, Gary Arthur, 48, and Samuel McGhee, 56.
Two inquiries are ongoing into the crash - one by Police Scotland and the other by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB).
The helicopter wreckage has been taken to the AAIB base in Farnborough, Hampshire, where it is being examined.