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Europe

Hunt for survivors in deadly Glasgow helicopter crash

© Photo: JanHollands on Twitter.

Video by Nicholas RUSHWORTH

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-02

At least nine people were killed and several others taken to hospital on Saturday after a police helicopter crashed into a crowded pub in the Scottish city of Glasgow, as rescue workers continued to hunt for survivors.

Rescue workers toiled through the night and into Saturday morning to reach revellers trapped under rubble after a police helicopter crashed into a crowded pub in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

The accident happened at around 10:25pm Friday during a packed concert at The Clutha pub in central Glasgow.

Police said Saturday all three people aboard the helicopter had died while another six were found dead inside the pub.

A total of 14 injured people remained in hospital, Stephen House, chief constable of Police Scotland told reporters.

Authorities said they had made contact with people still inside The Clutha, where a ska band was performing when the helicopter came down.

Witnesses spoke of people streaming out of the building covered in blood, with gashes and other injuries.

Asst. Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said teams – including 125 firefighters on the scene – were working to stabilise the building and get people out.

‘The whole pub just filled with dust’

As dawn broke, firefighters clambered on to the collapsed roof and pulled tarps over the wreckage of the helicopter.

Grace MacLean, who was inside the pub at the time, said she heard a “whoosh” noise and then saw smoke.

“The band were laughing, and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down,” she told the BBC. “They carried on playing, and then it started to come down more, and someone started screaming, and then the whole pub just filled with dust. You couldn’t see anything, you couldn’t breathe.”

Retired firefighter Edward Waltham said he ran into the pub to help rescuers, and found on man covered in dust and apparently badly injured.

“My initial reaction for him from my experience was to try not to move him because he had been in a crush situation,” Waltham told BBC News. “But as we were lying there other people were literally being pulled out of the pub and more or less thrown on top of us.”

People formed a human chain to help pass unconscious people out of the pub so that “inch by inch, we could get the people out,” said Labour Party spokesman Jim Murphy, who was in the area when the helicopter came down.

“The helicopter was inside the pub. It’s a mess. I could only get a yard or two inside. I helped carry people out,” Murphy told Sky News. “I saw a pile of people clambering out of the pub in the dust. No smoke, no fire, just a huge amount of dust.”

The twin-engined Eurocopter is widely used by police and ambulance services.

In 2007, a Eurocopter EC135 T2 crashed in southern England. The pilot and his wife were unhurt, but the aircraft was badly damaged. Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch said there had been a failure of the autotrim system which maintains the aircraft’s position.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2013-11-30

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