Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow helicopter crash: Clutha bar survivor stories

The Clutha pub had been packed with more than 100 people when a police helicopter crashed into it at 22:25 on Friday, killing nine people.

These are the stories of some of the people who escaped the scene.

Saverio Petri, Clutha manager

I was standing at the front of the bar pouring somebody a drink. I saw what appeared to be an explosion.

The pub was plunged immediately into darkness and the roof came down. I was hit with some falling debris on my head, my arm, my leg, and my foot, which subsequently knocked me to the ground.

Luckily, from my point of view, this is what saved me where others unfortunately perished, because I had fallen behind the bar. The debris that was falling was landing more so on the bar and then bouncing off it.

I could not believe how calm people were within the bar. The majority of people just seemed to be concerned about removing the injured and helping as much as they could.

The majority of people did a phenomenal job.

William Byrne

We were in the pub having a good night. The band was on, it was fine: no drama, really good atmosphere. People say it was 22:27 but I have no view if it was or it wasn't.

There was a huge bang and, for a couple of seconds after it, it was just still - it was really quiet. Then, on the other side of the pub from where we were, the roof and the whole gantry collapsed in on itself. It was unbelievable.

We opened the doors and people were filing out one by one. After the initial shock of the bang people where really, really calm. People did great - they were absolutely fantastic.

As for debris, our side of the pub was relatively unscathed. The other side I really couldn't say but it must have been bad because of the roof collapse.

It's just surreal.

Brendan Riordan

Suddenly I heard this bang. I wasn't sure what had happened. At first I thought the speakers had blown but then I looked around and this cloud of dust suddenly took over the whole pub.

I started looking around to see what had happened, maybe a gas explosion, but there was no sign of fire whatsoever.

I noticed just before the cloud of dust took over the pub that the ceiling had fallen onto the bar in the central bit of the pub. That's when I realised things were serious.

I thought there might be a second explosion or a fire might ignite, so I decided to run outside and try to take people with me as they had had a few drinks and were confused.

The minute I walked out I called 112 as I was one of the first people to leave the pub. Soon after I spoke to the emergency services I crossed the street towards the river.

There was a by-stander there and I asked him if he had seen anything. He said he had seen a helicopter, I wouldn't say falling down, he explained it as gliding down.

I then ran towards the pub again as people were all gathering outside. This worried me as I thought the helicopter might explode, so I started telling people to get away from the pub.

By then the police and ambulance had arrived. I spoke to the paramedics and warned them that a helicopter had crash-landed on the roof.

I didn't see people hurt inside the pub, however when I left I did see people come out of the pub covered in blood and covered in dust. I saw one guy who was completely covered in blood.

Nancy Primrose and Ann Faulds

Nancy Primrose and her sister, Ann Faulds, talked about the moment of impact.

Ann Faulds: Nancy got blown straight up into the air and onto the ground. She was just a couple of feet away from me. Within seconds of the blast, there were people getting pulled out, so people must have come straight in and started pulling people out of the left hand side door.

Nancy Primrose: "It's just all the people that just didn't make it out - all they poor people. All their families are standing, waiting. What must be going through their heads? We were lucky. We were really, really, really lucky."

Edward Waltham

Edward Waltham, a retired fire officer from Glasgow, was heading into the bar when the helicopter crashed.

I had absolutely no idea it was a helicopter. I thought it was a gas explosion. I ran across the road, knowing my friend was inside, and when I got to the front of the pub there was two doors and there appeared to a lot of people making their way out of the right-hand door.

There were women screaming. It was obvious something serious was going on in there. I made my way to the left door and when I got there, there were a number of casualties half in and half out of the entrance. It is a very busy part of the bar.

When you go inside the door of the Clutha, there is only a distance of about 2ft between the bar and that front door and it is quite often very full of people. But all I could see at the front of the door was a wall of debris.

Craig Bain

Craig Bain returned to the crash site after he was discharged from hospital. He was asked why he wanted to return to the scene.

I just want to pay my respects to the people that passed away. There was a man on the news who was standing right next to me. He was one of the dead.

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