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Glasgow helicopter crash: Eight dead at Clutha pub

media captionChief Constable Sir Stephen House confirms eight deaths following the helicopter crash

Eight people are now confirmed to have died after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow city centre.

Three people inside the helicopter and five people inside The Clutha were killed after the Police Scotland aircraft came down at 22:30 on Friday.

A further 14 people are being treated for "very serious injuries" in hospitals across the city.

A major investigation is under way and the Air Accidents Investigations Branch will conduct an inquiry into the crash.

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, medical director at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said that of the 32 people taken to local hospitals after the crash, 18 had now been treated and discharged.

She confirmed that 14 people were still being treated for serious injuries.

"The main injuries we have seen include chest injuries, head injuries, long-bone fractures and lacerations," she said.

It is thought that about 120 people were in the pub at the time of the crash.

Many were rescued or escaped but others were trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.

image captionThe emergency services remain involved in a "search and recovery" operation

The three occupants of the helicopter who died were two police officers and a civilian pilot.

A significant number of personnel from Police Scotland, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service are still at the scene.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House told a news conference on Saturday afternoon that they would remain there for some time.

He said: "This is a complex and ongoing rescue operation. It will not be a quick operation. It is a very complicated and indeed dangerous scene."

Chief Constable House said the operation would go on "for many days yet".

He paid tribute to the emergency service personnel who were working at the scene and the people of Glasgow who disregarded their own personal safety to help survivors in the aftermath of the crash.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the same news conference that the increased death toll from the crash was "news that everybody today has been both dreading and expecting".

"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been bereaved. It is impossible to imagine the grief and loss that they are experiencing," she said.

"They should know that the thoughts and prayers of everyone across the city, and indeed across Scotland, are with them at this unimaginably difficult time.

Ms Sturgeon also praised the courage and fortitude of the emergency services and people of Glasgow in the aftermath of the crash.

She added: "I think we were all moved last night by the way in which those who were in and around the scene did everything possible to help and the outpouring of concern and kindness today, I'm sure, will be a comfort to those affected."

  • A large area of the city centre has been cordoned off
  • Mass held at St Andrew's Cathedral in city for those involved in crash and emergency services involved in response
  • Council has cancelled St Andrew's Day celebrations in George Square as a mark of respect
  • A minute's silence was held ahead of the Falkirk v Rangers match
  • Flags are flying at half-mast on Scottish government buildings
  • Injured were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary and the Victoria Infirmary
  • Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410 - for those concerned about relatives
  • Glasgow City Council has opened a family reception centre at 40 John Street

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond earlier described it as a "black day for Scotland."

image captionLocal people have gathered at the scene

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the bravery of the "ordinary Glaswegians" who rushed to help.

The Queen has said her thoughts and prayers are with the victims of crash.

The Police Scotland helicopter which crashed was a twin-engine Eurocopter EC135 T2.

In a statement, Eurocopter said its experts were "on standby to support the investigation in every way possible".

"An accident investigation team from Eurocopter is on its way to Scotland to assist the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch and the BFU (German AAIB) in its efforts to investigate the cause of the accident," the statement said.

Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said it was working with the police and emergency services.

A statement added: "Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident."

William Byrne, 45, from Coatbridge, who was in the pub when the helicopter came down, returned to the scene on Saturday morning.

"There was a loud bang. Then there was dust and the lights went out. It was surreal," he told BBC Scotland.

"We didn't know what had happened. At our side of the pub at least two people were trapped under the gantry. Myself and others lifted it up and managed to get them out. I spent some time with one injured man."

He added: "At our side of the pub I would say there were less than 10 people injured, mainly walking wounded, not seriously injured. One girl had clearly been hit on the head - she had a big bump.

"The other side of the pub took the brunt. Myself and my friends managed to get out without a scratch. Everyone helped everyone else to get out."

About 250 people attended a special service at St Andrew's Cathedral on Saturday afternoon.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told worshipers: "We pray for those who have lost their lives, who are injured, the bereaved, and the emergency services and members of the public.

"We pray for our city of Glasgow, which is in mourning today."

A statement posted on The Clutha bar's Facebook page on Saturday stated: "Our thanks go out to all the goodwill messages and prayers for those who tragically lost their lives in the accident last night. An event beyond comprehension and belief.

"The customers who could showed the true spirit of Glasgow along with all the emergency services. Our heartfelt sorrow to all of the families of those who perished."

The band who were playing in the pub at the time of the crash, Esperanza, released a statement on their Facebook page.

Bassist Jess wrote: "Waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real. Despite the situation everyone was so helpful and caring of each other.

"The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions."

media captionThe silence took place ahead of Rangers' game against Falkirk in the Scottish Cup at Falkirk Stadium

Eddie Waltham, a former firefighter who had a friend inside the pub, told the BBC: "A roof joist came down and hit him and pushed him towards the window which is at the left side of the left door."

He added later: "My own reaction was to run straight up to the pub.

"It was amazing to watch just how people were trying so hard to get into this building."

Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said his heart went out to the families affected.

He also praised the response of ordinary people in the area before the emergency services arrived.

Mr Matheson said: "People who were in the pub, the people who were in the streets and who just helped out their fellow human beings who were out having a good time.

"It's Glasgow at its best you know, if people are in need the spontaneous response is to go to their help. And I want to pay great tribute to that and I'm very proud as leader of the city that that was the reaction. It doesn't surprise me."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it is also St Andrew's Day and we can take pride in how we respond to adversity.

"The response from our emergency services and citizens has been exemplary."

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This is a tragic event and our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends who lost a loved one last night.

"I want to thank the emergency services who worked tirelessly throughout the night and I also want pay tribute to the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians who rushed to help.

"We have offered the Scottish government our support in any way we can and we are all wishing Eight dead in pub helicopter crasha speedy recovery to those who are injured."

Labour leader Ed Miliband described the crash as an "unimaginable horror".

He added: "My thoughts are with... the people of Glasgow who are an incredibly strong people, who showed, I think last night, in their reaction when the helicopter hit, a great bravery, a great courage, great calm in the midst of all this."

In 2002, a police Eurocopter EC-135 came down in a field in Ayrshire. All three people on board survived.

In 1990, a police sergeant was killed when a Bell Jet 206 helicopter crashed in bad weather at Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire.

More on this story

  • As it happened: Glasgow helicopter crash

  • 'A complex rescue operation’