In an almost unreal but tragic event, a police chopper crash has left 8 dead after it landed onto the roof of a Glasgow pub yesterday. The popular Glasgow pub, Clutha Pub, which was putting on a live music show featuring a local ska band for the eve of St. Andrew’s Day, saw the party come crashing down after the roof caved in on the celebration. In addition to the deaths, a reported dozen remain in the hospital with serious injuries.
St. Andrew’s Day, named after the patron saint of Scotland, is a day for celebration in Scotland. Glasgow’s community is now remembering this holiday for the tragic event which has claimed the lives of those trying to partake in it’s festivities.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said “This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland, but it’s also St. Andrew’s Day, and it’s a day we can take pride and courage in how we respond to adversity and tragedy,”
Police are still in the midst of a harrowing rescue and recovery operation, and they are afraid what will be found once the wreckage is cleared. Police say the operation could take several days.
For those who had loved ones attending Glasgow’s Clutha pub on St. Andrew’s Day eve now wait nervously to hear if their friends and family are still trapped beneath the wreckage alive.
The crash happened at around 10:30 pm, the opening hours of the pub’s event. Witnesses said it “seemed to fall straight down” and into the roof of the pub, causing a blanket of dust to send patrons running for their lives.
Three of the victims who died were found in the helicopter, two police officers and a pilot. Chief Constable Stephen House said “they were our colleagues,” to reporters, before taking a deep breathe and walking away.
There are no official comments on whether Glasgow police think they will find other casualties or people alive under the rubble, saying that the helicopter is “dominating the whole space” and more time is needed to clear the wreckage.
Reports are hazy on what the helicopter was doing before it crash landed onto the Glasgow pub’s roof, and air safety investigators declined to comment on why the Eurocopter EC135 T2 helicopter crashed, saying it is too early to speculate on the cause of the crash. Observers say they may have been attempting to land on a helipad close to the pub’s roof on the bank of the River Clyde.
Glasgow officials are warning people to stay away from the scene, saying that is was still extremely dangerous to the building’s instability.
Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said “Out thoughts an prayers are with out Scottish colleagues and everyone affected by this unthinkable tragedy,”
The families of those still missing will only have to wait painstakingly as the search and rescue efforts continue into the night. Officials say based on the extent of the damage, the likelihood of survivors still trapped beneath the wreckage is slim to none.
Instead of celebrating the festive day of St. Andrew’s, government buildings have been ordered to fly their flags at half-staff in memory of the victims.
by John Amaruso