A helicopter has crashed into a pub in Glasgow. Three people are confirmed dead with more fatalities expected. The Clutha Bar on Stockwell Street was packed with customers and early reports described how injured people were moved outside the pub.
Eye witnesses say the helicopter came through the roof, and reports suggest the accident occurred between 10 pm and 11 pm local time.
Eye witness Wesley Shearer says the accident occurred in the middle of a gig with band Ezperanza performing. The roof collapsed trapping people underneath. A photo taken by Mr Shearer shows what appears to be a blade from the aircraft sticking out of the roof.
Other reports suggest it was a police helicopter which other eye-witnesses say came down rapidly with rotors still turning. Images show what appears to be wreckage with black and white check with what appears to be the words ‘police’ clearly visible, lying on the roof.
Another eye-witness, Gordon Smart from the Scottish Sun said he heard a misfiring engine, he looked up and saw the helicopter falling out of the sky like a stone “at great pace”, but there was no explosion. Mr Smart said the rotors did not appear to be turning.
A witness who was inside the pub at the time spoke of hearing a woosh and then smoke and dust, the roof was “gardually coming down” and then someone shouted. The witness, identified as Grace McKee said she heard “no loud noise, no bash” and that there weren’t an awful lot of injuries, no-one knew she said, that it was a helicopter crash until they were told by others that a helicopter had came down.
Police Scotland later confirmed that the helicopter was one of theirs with call-sign SP99. It had three people on board, including a civilian pilot and two police officers.
The model of helicopter was also confirmed as an EC135 T2+ based at Glasgow City heliport. The helicopter was apparently registered new in 2007.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Services say the situation is being treated as a major incident and have said 32 people have been taken to hospital, some with very serious injuries.
There were an estimated 120 people in the pub at the time of the incident. Some relatives of people who have yet to make contact are said to be at the scene.
MP Jim Murphy who was nearby at the time described it as “a major and bloody event” and spoke of seeing people with injuries and others who were lying unconcious. According to the Labour MP, people formed a line in order get injured people out of the pub.
Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon who is a Glasgow MSP tweeted: “Absolutely awful news about a helicopter crashing into the Clutha. All my thoughts are with everyone involved & the emergency services”
In a statement, First Minister Alex Salmond tweeted: “The emergency services are in full operation. Our thoughts are with everyone involved. Scottish resilience operation now mobilised.”
Mr Salmond later tweeted: “Rescue efforts in full operation. Given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities”
It has been confirmed that three people have died as a result of the crash and more fatalities are expected. Those wishing to find out more are urged to call – 0800 092 0410.