One person has died and the number is expected to rise after a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a crowded pub in Scotland.
A major incident was declared after the helicopter came down on top of the Clutha bar in Glasgow at 10.25pm yesterday.
Pic: Rupert Morris / Twitter
About 120 people are thought to have been inside the pub when the roof collapsed.
Police Scotland chief constable Stephen House said: “At this time I can confirm that 32 injured people were taken by ambulance from the scene last night. They were taken to three different hospitals in Glasgow.
“Sadly at this time I can also confirm one fatality. We expect that number to increase over the coming hours.”
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond described today – St Andrew’s Day – as a “black day for Glasgow and for Scotland”.
Mr Salmond visited the multi-agency command centre in Glasgow with Sir Stephen, other emergency services and Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.
The First Minister praised the speed of the emergency response.
“We’ve also heard of the instinctive courage of ordinary Glasgwegians going to assist their fellow citizens in extremity,” he said.
“This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it’s also St Andrew’s Day, and it’s a day we can take pride and courage in how we respond to adversity and tragedy.
“That response from our emergency services and from ordinary citizens has been exemplary.
“As First Minister, it’s a day we can take great pride in how we’ve responded to this extraordinary tragedy.”
Fire Scotland deputy chief officer Alex Clark said: “On behalf of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to extend the most sincere condolences to all of those affected by last night’s events.
“Along with our emergency service colleagues, we responded very, very quickly and pulled out all the measures that we possibly could in order to rescue people who were affected by this incident.
“I can assure you that until such time as there is an inevitable outcome we will undoubtedly remain on site and carry on our rescue activities in the best way that we possibly can.”
Gary Hardacre, head of risk and resilience at the Scottish Ambulance Service, who is leading the ambulance response at the Clutha, said: “All of our thoughts and condolences are with those that have been affected by this tragic incident.
“In terms of our response, we were very quick in putting our action plans into place.
“We have got a large scale response into this incident, comprising ambulance crews and special operations teams from east and west of Scotland.
“We have been working with our partners in the police and fire service to ensure a joined-up response, and provide the best possible care that we can for the people affected by this.”
Police Scotland confirmed the aircraft involved was a Eurocopter EC135 T2 with two police officers and a civilian pilot on board.
Witnesses described how the helicopter dropped out of the sky and on to the roof of the pub in Stockwell Street ”like a stone”.
Firefighters worked through the night to reach people trapped inside the building.
Constable House said: “I’d like to take the opportunity this morning to express the deep sorrow that we feel within Police Scotland.
“The thoughts of myself and all our people are with those involved in the tragic incident last night when a Police Scotland helicopter crashed on to the roof of the Clutha Vault pub here in Glasgow.
“This is a very difficult and sensitive operation.
“The scene is, as you will understand and have probably seen in the media, a particularly challenging one.
“Given the damage caused and the nature of the damage, it will take some time to complete the search of the building and to assess how we begin the investigation.
“Clearly the safety of those conducting the search is of the highest importance, balanced with the search and rescue operation that is ongoing.
“At this time I would like to recognise the efforts of all in the emergency services, and in the health service who received so many injured at one time, and also pay particular tribute to the public in Glasgow who responded at the time magnificently in rescuing people from the scene.”
Police said it was unclear if anyone was still alive inside the building.
Constable House added: “We’re still in a search and recovery phase, and as always our prayers are that it is successful and we do recover people alive.
“The response was very, very quick in terms of the ambulance service getting people to hospital.
“There are people on the scene trying to make contact with anyone who may be alive at the scene. It is an unclear situation at this moment in time.
“All we can do is confirm that there has been one fatality, but we are fearful that there will be more.
“It’s been emotional, but it is the job of everybody here to deal with it, and we have dealt with it, and we will continue to deal with it effectively.”
The 32 injured were taken to the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Western Infirmary.
A tarpaulin has been placed over the area where the helicopter hit the roof.
A full probe involving the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the emergency services is under way.