Police: 8 killed in chopper crash at Scottish pub

2:32 PM, Nov 30, 2013   |    comments
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Scotland police said Saturday that the death toll has increased to eight from a police helicopter crashing into a Glasgow pub.

Emergency workers were digging through rubble to find survivors in the wreckage of the pub that partially collapsed when the helicopter crashed into the building's roof late Friday night.

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In a press briefing Saturday, Chief Constable of Police Scotland Stephen House said all those aboard the helicopter - two officers and a civilian pilot - died when the aircraft crashed into the roof of The Clutha pub. Five other people were killed on the ground.

He also said 14 injured people remain in Glasgow hospitals after the crash.

"This is a complex and ongoing rescue operation," House said, according to the BBC. "It will not be a quick operation. It is a very complicated and indeed dangerous scene."

He added that emergency services would remain on the scene for some time and that the operation would take "many days."

The Eurocopter EC135 T2 plunged into The Clutha pub about 10:25 p.m. (5:25 p.m. ET), said Police Scotland, the national police force.

On Friday, Scotland's leader, Alex Salmond, said of the tragedy: "It is a black day for Scotland and Glasgow."

Police reported that an estimated 120 people were inside the popular pub, located on the banks of the River Clyde, when the crash occurred.

"It's a horrible, horrible scene, but well done to the folk who were here," Jim Murphy, a Labor Party minister of Parliament who was driving past and stopped to help, told the BBC. "Everyone formed a chain of people from inside the pub to outside, and the fire brigade and everyone were here very quickly."

"The helicopter was inside the pub. It's a mess. I could only get a yard or two inside. I helped carry people out," Murphy told Sky News. "I saw a pile of people clambering out of the pub in the dust. No smoke, no fire, just a huge amount of dust."

The pub was packed with the usual Friday night crowd, drinking and listening to a nine-piece ska band called Esperanza. Members of the band all escaped from the wreckage unharmed.

Witnesses spoke of people streaming out of the building covered in blood, with gashes and other injuries.

Grace MacLean, who was inside at the time of the crash, said she heard a "whoosh" noise 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."

About 250 people attended a special service at St. Andrew's Cathedral on Saturday afternoon, the BBC reported.

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