Eyewitness accounts of Glasgow helicopter crash: 'You couldn't see anything, you couldn't breathe'


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The Independent Online

Scottish emergency workers are still working through wreckage for survivors of a police helicopter crash onto the crowded Clutha bar in Glasgow that has killed at least one person and injured more than two dozen. These eye witness accounts describe the tragedy as it unfolded last night.

Local resident Paul Dundas, 26, said he heard a loud bang and looked out of his window to see a plume of dust rising above the pub. 

"At first I thought it was a firework ," he said, describing the "horrible scene" he discovered upon going down to the street level. 

"People were covered in blood and dust. Other people were dragging them away from the bar and trying to get them out," he said. "Everyone was in shock, but people were helping and asking strangers if they were ok I saw a couple help each other clean up their faces.

Gordon Smart, editor of the Sun's Scottish edition, saw the crash from a multi-storey car park nearby.

He told Sky News: “I thought it was a plane that was going to crash. I looked up at the sky and I could see the helicopter falling, tumbling ... and then there was an eerie silence for the last part of the fall.

"There was no fireball and I did not hear an explosion. It fell like a stone. The engine seemed to be spluttering."

"I couldn't understand why a helicopter would fall from that height and not explode. To see the angle, the speed and the trajectory of the fall ... it was a horrific sight."

Witness William Byrne, 45, was in the bar yesterday evening when the crash occurred. He told the BBC: ""We were in the pub for a good night, the band was on, it was fine, really good atmosphere. There was a huge bang and there was a couple of seconds after it when it was still, really quiet, and then the other side of the pub, the roof, the gantry all collapsed in on itself. It was unbelievable."

Labour's international development spokesman Jim Murphy said: “I saw a pile of people clambering out of the pub in the dust. No smoke, no fire, just a huge amount of dust. I got out of my car and just tried to help people.”

He added that people had formed a human chain to help carry unconscious people out of the pub.

“I think the building’s only about 18-20 foot tall, so part of the helicopter is sticking out, but most of the helicopter is in the building.”

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."

Eyewitness Wesley Shearer said on Twitter: “This is unbelievable. Just spent 20 minutes pulling people out of the bar.”

Additional reporting by agencies