Glasgow helicopter crash: Response 'courage' praised

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionScottish First Minister Alex Salmond said it was "a black day for Glasgow"

Tributes have been paid to the response of "ordinary Glaswegians" after a police helicopter crashed into a busy city centre bar.

Local residents and people in the area rushed to help evacuate people from The Clutha in Stockwell Street after the crash at 22:25 on Friday.

They formed what eye witnesses described as a "human chain" to rescue the wounded.

Their efforts have been lauded by First Minister Alex Salmond.

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

"We've also heard of the instinctive courage of ordinary Glaswegians going to assist their fellow citizens in extremity.

Image caption A police insignia could be seen on the wreckage of the helicopter

"We can take great pride in how we've responded to this extraordinary tragedy."

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."

Anas Sarwar, Labour MP for Glasgow Central, echoed those sentiments.

"Our thoughts and prayers go to those involved but a huge thanks to the passers-by and the emergency services," he said.

"It speaks to the human decency and human kindness that people didn't run away from the scene but to the scene to help their fellow Glaswegian."

Jim Murphy, the Labour MP for East Renfrewshire, was in the area at the time of the crash.

He told the BBC how people formed "a bit of human chain, side by side with each other, to help pull injured people out".

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson also spoke of his pride in the response.

"I would like to pay tribute to the people of Glasgow, who instinctively went to help those who were in need," he 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.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionEyewitness William Byrne said that the scene at the pub on Friday night was "surreal"

"If people are in need the spontaneous response is to go to their help.

"When there is trouble, and people need assistance, the people of Glasgow head towards those situations.

"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.

"That's Glaswegians at their best."

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty added: "It is shocking, but our Glaswegian resolve will get us though this together.

"The bravery and humanity of ordinary folk, witnessed last night, can give us all great comfort. My gratitude also goes to our emergency services for their sterling work at this difficult time."

Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, led a special service at the nearby St Andrews Cathedral attended by around 250 people, including Mr Matheson and Glasgow MP, Margaret Curran.

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

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

More on this story