Firefighters inspect the roof of a Glasgow pub where a police helicopter crashed on Friday night. (AFP)
Glasgow, Nov. 30 (Reuters): Eight persons were killed and 14 others seriously injured when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a packed Glasgow pub, trapping many inside in choking dust and debris, Scottish police said today,
Witnesses said the helicopter dropped from the sky like a stone onto the busy Clutha Pub in Scotland’s biggest city last night while more than 100 people were crammed inside, listening to a live music concert.
The helicopter crew — two police officers and the civilian pilot — were among the dead and the others were discovered inside the wreckage of the building, Chief Constable of Police Scotland Stephen House told reporters. He said 14 others remained in hospital with serious injuries.
The 12-metre helicopter — a twin-engine Eurocopter EC135 T2, made by a subsidiary of EADS — spiralled into the pub in the centre of Glasgow, destroying part of the roof.
The mangled wreckage remained embedded in the middle of the building as the search continued today.
“We are still in ... a rescue and recovery situation,” House said. “Until the helicopter is out of the way we won’t know what ... is going on underneath.”
Immediately after the crash, revellers caked in dust and blood rushed out into the street.
Passersby including the local member of parliament formed a human chain to bring out the injured from the building.
“It was fairly busy, we were all having a nice time and then there was like a ‘whoosh’ noise,” Grace MacLean, who was in the pub at the time, told the BBC.
“There was no bang, no explosion, and then there was what seemed like smoke, and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down, and then it started to come down more and someone started screaming, and the whole pub filled with dust and you couldn’t see anything, you couldn’t breathe.”
Tearful relatives and friends of those caught up in the incident gathered during the day, some laying flowers at the scene.
“This is a black day for Glasgow and for Scotland,” said Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, noting that today was St Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s national day.
Police said it was too early to speculate on what caused the Eurocopter, popular with emergency services worldwide, to come down. Witnesses said it did not appear to have caught fire.