Police in Glasgow, Scotland said that eight people have died and 14 were injured when a police helicopter crashed through the roof of a pub last night. The pub, Clutha Vaults, situated in a busy part of the city, had been hosting a music concert.
According to the Guardian, "[T]he Eurocopter EC135 T2 operated by Police Scotland came down just before 10.30pm." The civilian pilot and two police officers in the chopper were killed while five people on the ground died. With about 120 inside the pub, there was a painstaking rescue process to get the trapped patrons to safety (the search for survivors is still continuing).
One person inside the pub, Wesley Shearer, described the rescue effort on BBC, "I tried my best to help pull a few people out from the other side of the pub who were trapped but there were other people there who were risking their lives to help those in need. A chain was sort of formed to pass casualties back after pulling bits of beams and wood out of the rubble - there was beams and wood everywhere and at that point we just started pulling people out, there were other people further inside the pub passing people out to us." Dozens were taken to nearby hospitals.
Patrons didn't realize what happened at first. One told the BBC that he thought it was a gas explosion. Another, Grace MacLean, said to the NY Times, "There was like a whoosh noise. Then there was some smoke, what seemed like smoke, so the band were laughing and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down, and at the time they carried on playing. Then it started to come down more and someone started screaming, and then the whole pub just filled with dust, like you couldn’t see anything, you couldn’t breathe."
The editor of the Scottish Sun, Gordon Smart, was in a car park nearby, "I was on the phone at the time and I heard a misfiring engine, looked above me, couldn't work out where it was coming from. It got louder and louder and spotted a helicopter falling from the sky. It must have been 500 yards up. It was only 200 yards away from me. It was falling at great speed. It looked like the rotas weren't spinning. The helicopter was sort of turning in a strange position and dropping at great speed. Oddly enough there was no explosion, no fireball, and so I was sort of stunned for a moment and then tried to get out of the car park as quickly as I could and see what had happened."
Bond Air Services, which owns the choppers, is reportedly working with authorities. Today is also St. Andrew's Day, Scotland's National Day. Some festivities in Glasgow have been cancelled.