Four of the eight people killed in Glasgow Clutha Vaults pub helicopter crash are named

Rescue operation continues as tributes are paid following Friday night’s helicopter crash

Glasgow

Four of the eight victims who were killed when a police helicopter crashed through the roof of a packed Glasgow pub on Friday night have been named.

Three of the victims were the helicopter crew - pilot David Traill, 51, and police officers Kirsty Nelis, 36 and Tony Collins, 43.

The fourth victim confirmed by Scottish Police was Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area, who died while he was in the packed Clutha pub in central Glasgow.

Captain Traill, a former RAF flight lieutenant, worked for Bond Air Services and had served in Afghanistan and Iraq during his 20-year career as an RAF pilot.

Of the 32 people who were injured, 12 remain in hospital, three of whom are described as serious but stable.

Friends and family of the victims paid tribute to them on Sunday - Mr Arthur's daughter, Chloe, 18, a Celtic and Scottish women's footballer, wrote on Twitter: "RIP dad. you'll always mean the world to me, I promise to do you proud, I love you with all my heart.

"Thanks to everyone who has tweeted me, text me etc, means so much, I have the most amazing friends ever."

Friends of Mrs Nelis also paid tribute on social media sites, many changed changed their profile pictures to a black square cut across by a thin blue line in remembrance.

Andrina Romano said: "For my beautiful friend Kirsty and all others involved. You will never be forgotten and I will miss you every day. Rip"

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said : “I would like to pay tribute to all three and recognise the important contribution they made to our public service and to the communities they have served.

"Until the helicopter is completely removed from the scene and the right people are in the premises and are able to look through the rubble completely and start to clear it, we cannot say about exact numbers," he said.

Following the recovery of Mr Arthur's body, police said they had removed a second body from the pub on Sunday morning, although its identity has not been revealed.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: "We hope to make further formal identifications as the operation continues."

As the recovery operation continued, others like John McGarrigle, 38, standing outside the Clutha, said he had been told by an eyewitness that his father, also John McGarrigle, 59, was sitting “right in the spot” where the helicopter hit.

“The realisation, and just a deep instinct kicked in right away as soon as I heard there was an accident at Clutha. I just knew something bad had happened to him,” he told BBC News.

“When I came round and seen where the position of the helicopter [was], that was when I knew, because he sat in that spot all the time, where the 'copter hit. I am still shaking. I could walk in there and pinpoint him myself in the rubble.”

Mr McGarrigle said he had checked every hospital with no sign of his father and planned to stand outside the Clutha until he saw that all the casualties were removed from the pub.

Victims of the crash were remembered at a service in Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday morning attended by the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House.

Ms Sturgeon, who also visited injured victims at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: "It was a very moving service, a very poignant service. I think it was important that the service took place this morning."

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, described it as a “black day for Glasgow and also for Scotland”.

The Air Accident Investigations Branch and Police Scotland both launched inquiries into the crash. Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said in a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the incident and was working with the authorities.

Witnesses spoke of hearing the helicopter's engine spluttering as the aircraft descended rapidly on to the pub's roof.

William Byrne came out of the toilet just as the roof collapsed, "I feel like I dodged a bullet," he said.

The crash will add to pressure on the Government to look into the safety of helicopters. Only last week, the Transport minister Robert Goodwill rejected calls for a full-scale public inquiry into offshore helicopter safety.

From the outside, the Clutha appeared to be intact on Saturday, but the inside was described as a mess of mangled metal, dust and debris.

Dogs from the Trossachs Search and Rescue charity were brought in on Friday night to search the wreckage, but they were stood down at about 6am on Saturday morning. Fibre-optic cameras, specialist sound equipment and carbon-dioxide indicators to detect human breath were also used.

There had been a party atmosphere in the Clutha on Friday, with the ska band Esperanza in full swing, when, at about 10.25pm, the helicopter crashed through the roof on to the bar, filling the room with blinding, choking dust. Some initially thought that a bomb had gone off.

Eyewitnesses in the pub described how they saw the bar “buckle” before collapsing, completely crushing people below. They said the bar went dark and filled with clouds of dust that made it hard to see and breathe.

Despite chaotic scenes, people in the pub, including some who were injured, and passers-by from outside helped to rescue people from the wreckage until emergency services arrived.

Kenny Hamilton, a 48-year-old painter and decorator, told The Independent on Sunday that he had been “knocked sideways” by the gantry above the bar when the helicopter hit. He was pulled out of the wreckage and then, despite suspected cracked ribs, he helped several people lift the shattered bar so that another injured man trapped beneath it could be taken to safety.

Echoing earlier comments by Mr Salmond, Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to “the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians who rushed to help”, and emergency services personnel “who worked tirelessly throughout the night”.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson described the crash as “heartbreaking”, but nevertheless took some comfort from the response. “When there is trouble and people need assistance, the people of Glasgow head towards those situations,” he said yesterday. “The motto of the city of Glasgow is 'People make Glasgow'. That was at no better time demonstrated than last night and in the period since.”

Flags flew at half-mast across the city and the annual St Andrew's Day celebrations in the central George Square were cancelled. Throughout the day, a steady stream of people arrived to lay flowers on the pavement outside the Holiday Express hotel, a few yards down the street from the scene but as close as police would let them.

In a personal statement, the Queen added her condolences, saying that she was “saddened to learn of the dreadful helicopter crash”.

The Clutha – the name means “Clyde” in Gaelic – is a popular bar in the centre of Glasgow known as one of the city's best music venues. It was once a favourite venue for Billy Connolly when he was starting out as a comedian.

Ska band Esperanza's bass player and general manager, Jessica Combe, said yesterday that they were “waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real”.

“Despite the situation, everyone was so helpful and caring of each other,” she said in a statement. “The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions.”

A statement on the Clutha's Facebook page said that it had been “an event beyond comprehension and belief”. It read: “Our heartfelt sorrow to all of the families of those who perished.”

Additional reporting by Victoria Finan

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