Glasgow helicopter tragedy: Stories of heroism


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The Independent Online

Alex Salmond called the tragedy in Glasgow "a black day" for Scotland. But, as the rescue efforts continued yesterday, out of the darkest of circumstances poured stories of heroism from ordinary citizens who risked life and limb to help carry those in the pub to safety.

Kenny Hamilton, 48, a painter and decorator from the Rutherglen area of the city, said that someone came to his aid after he and others were trapped beneath the bar. "I'd been there a minute, two minutes, and two guys pulled me out from underneath the bar," he said. "Five of us lifted the bar top up maybe a couple of inches and someone else pulled the first man away from underneath. He got taken out." He added: "One of my friends, a nurse, was looking after him outside."

Wesley Shearer, 22, who was attending the gig at the pub, tweeted from the incident. He wrote: "This is unbelievable. Just spent 20 minutes pulling people out the bar." Some of the injured were taken to a nearby Holiday Inn Express.

The bravery of those in The Clutha was alluded to by the Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy, who said that people followed "human instinct" and jumped in to help by creating a human chain to get people out of the pub.

"We were very, very lucky," said Gary Coup, who had been inside with his wife when the helicopter crashed. "One minute we were listening to a great band and the next there was a huge bang, a loud whooshing noise and a cloud of dust. You could hardly see your hand in front of your face." He added: "There was a pile of debris and dust where the roof had collapsed. People were lifting up the rubble and holding up beams to let others out. Two or three were unconscious and had to be carried out. I saw one woman laid down on the road outside. She was unconscious."

His wife, Alleena, a prison officer, said: "At first, I thought the roof had collapsed and we shouted to the band to stop. There was dust everywhere. I pulled my dress up to cover my mouth so I could breath." She added: "I saw a man being carried out but he died. You see movies about people being heroes and running into buildings to help others, but last night we were all heroes, helping each other."

Political figures also queued up yesterday to pay homage to the people of Glasgow as well as the emergency services.

Mr Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, said yesterday that people had "heard of the instinctive courage of ordinary Glaswegians going to assist their fellow citizens in extremity" and David Cameron said he wanted to pay "tribute" to "the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians". Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, spoke of his pride at the actions of the "people of Glasgow".