A police helicopter crashed into a crowded pub, known as “The Clutha” on Stockwell Street in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday. According to Scotland police, there were three people in the helicopter and about 120 patrons in the pub at the time of the crash. Latest reports indicated that there were several casualities but no confirmed deaths yet. There were several still trapped inside. Upon leaving the Glasgow Royal Infirmary where some of the injured were taken, a member of the medical staff was asked about the seriousness of the injuries. His only reply was “Very.”
One Scotland official said that given the severity of the crash and the amount of people involved, it would be best for everyone to prepare themselves for the very real possibility of fatalities. He said that obviously, the Scotland police helicopter caught everybody by surprise when it crashed on the roof of the Glasgow pub and therefore, there was little time for people to take cover.
A large area of the city has been blocked off for effective rescue operations to be conducted and emergency personnel could be seen on the roof of the pub in an attempt to pull out people still trapped inside. A fire officer told reporters that a great many casualties were pulled out when crews first arrived on the scene. Victims were taken to various places for treatment. The Police Roll of Honour Trust put out on Twitter that they were with the crew of the police helicopter in their thoughts and were hoping that all would turn out alright.
One person on scene described the incident as “horrific.” However, the same source also said that many people banded together to form a human chain in order to pull people out of the pub and into safety. The insignia of the police helicopter was clearly visible in the wreckage. Another eyewitness was there to see the band, Esperanza, perform when midway through the set, they heard a great explosion. As dust and confusion began to permeate the room, panic set in very rapidly and everyone started trying to get to the door.
Another eyewitness said he saw the whole thing happen and said there was absolutely no warning that something was about to take place. He said a great many, including himself, managed to get out right away but he was unclear as to how many were still trapped inside. He added that they moved as quickly out of the way as possible in order for emergency personnel to be able to get inside and do what they were trained to do. There were an estimated 125 firefighters on the scene as well as numerous emergency medical personnel.
Labour Party spokesman Jim Murphy was nearby when the helicopter crashed. He said he went in to try and help the rescue effort but could not get more than a few feet inside the establishment. Murphy reported there was no fire or smoke but lots of dust. Murphy was able to help pull a couple of people out of the pub to safety and had blood on his shirt, but could only assure reporters that it was not his.
At this time, it is unknown what caused the police helicopter to crash on the roof of the Glasgow pub. It is believed that there will be an investigation by Scotland police into the matter.
By Rick Hope