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8 killed in police copter crash in Scotland

Glasgow, November 30, 2013

Eight people were killed and 14 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 yesterday,

Witnesses said the helicopter dropped from the sky like a stone onto the busy Clutha Pub in Scotland's biggest city on Friday 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 said. Fourteen people remained in hospital with serious injuries, he said.

The 12-metre helicopter - a twin-engine Eurocopter EC135 T2 - 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 yesterday. "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."

"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 of impact, 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 breath."

Police said it was too early to speculate on what caused the Eurocopter EC135 T2 to smash into the pub at 10:25 p.m. local time where more than 100 people were listening to a band perform. The helicopter did not appear to have caught fire.

"Given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities," said Scotland's leader, Salmond.

Scottish Police Service Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said she could only say that there were a number of casualties and that emergency workers were still trying to free people from the pub some five hours after the crash.

One emergency worker said he had been in contact with people trapped at the scene.

Caked in dust and blood, revelers rushed into the street immediately after the crash in what a member of Parliament from the opposition Labour party described as a "horrible scene" on the bank of the River Clyde.

Arriving by chance at the scene just moments after the crash, MP Jim Murphy praised bystanders who formed human chains to rescue people from the pub.

"It's a horrible, horrible scene, but well done to the folk who were here. Everyone formed a chain of people from inside the pub to outside, and the fire brigade and everyone were here very quickly," said Murphy, who had blood on his shirt.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Ed Miliband said their thoughts were with those affected by the crash.-Reuters




Tags: Scotland |

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