A police helicopter crashed into the roof of a crowded pub in Glasgow on Friday night. There are reports of multiple injuries and fatalities are feared. ‘Major incident’ has been declared at the site.
Jim Murphy, the shadow international development secretary, told BBC that a “pile of people” were clambering out of the Clutha Bar on the banks of the River Clyde. About 40 fire brigades were present at the scene, he added.
Emergency services could not immediately confirm any injuries. But local journalist Rebecca Gray reported that there were around 100 people inside the Clutha Bar at the moment of the accident.
“Rescue efforts in full operation,” Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said on Twitter. “Given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities.”
There have been no reports of explosions or fire following the crash.
The crashed helicopter belonged to Police Scotland. Pictures from the site of the crash show wreckage of the helicopter with ‘police’ written on it. Police says two officers and a civilian pilot were aboard the Eurocopter EC135 T2 helicopter.
Police Roll of Honour Trust tweeted: “Our thoughts are with the crew of @policescotland SP99 helicopter that has crashed in Glasgow – hoping everyone is alright.”
A witness to the accident, which seemed to have occurred during a performance, described the roof of the Clutha Bar collapsing, with people caught under the debris with injuries and smoke filling the locale. “Still no proper updates on what has actually happened. Now being moved away from the scene. Some people still trapped and injured outside,” Wesley Shearer tweeted.
Another witness Jan Hollands was across the road from the pub in a hotel when she heard a crash. “Scary stuff & scary scenes. Horrible,” she wrote on her twitter account shortly after the accident.
Witnesses said that many people volunteered to go back into the pub after the crash to help in the rescue effort.
Reportedly all the members of the Glasgow band Esperanza, which was performing on stage at the time of the crash, managed to escape without injury.
The band posted a message on Facebook, stating that the “band are all OK.” Esperanza was scheduled to perform Friday during the time the incident took place.
Scottish National Party deputy leader and Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Absolutely awful news about a helicopter crashing into the Clutha. All my thoughts are with everyone involved & the emergency services.”
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said it was “shocking news from Glasgow. All my thoughts are with those who have been injured.”
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