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Glasgow helicopter crash: Aircraft removed from pub

  • 12-2-2013

Rescuers have removed a helicopter which crashed into a busy Glasgow pub killing at least nine people.

The wreckage of the Police Scotland aircraft was winched from The Clutha, where it came down at 22:25 on Friday.

A full search of the pub is now under way. The body of a ninth victim has been removed. Police have said they cannot rule out finding more bodies.

The three helicopter crew died in the incident, along with six people inside the pub. Five victims have been named.

Following Monday morning's operation, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service tweeted: "Helicopter has now been safely removed which will allow our specialist urban search and rescue crews to continue search of building."

A short time later two private ambulances, escorted by Police Scotland outriders, left the scene of the tragedy.

Rescuers including firefighters, ambulance staff and police officers formed a guard of honour as the vehicles passed by.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick later said the body of the ninth person had been removed from the scene and taken to the city's Southern general Hospital for formal identification.

She said that in due course the helicopter wreckage would be moved to the Air Accidents Investigation Brach's Farnborough facility "for detailed examination".

'Painstaking process'

She added: "This now enables us, working with colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to continue the search and recovery operation within the site, to satisfy ourselves that all the victims of Friday night's tragic incident have been recovered."

Deputy Chief Constable Fitzpatrick said the operation continued to be "difficult and complex" and a "painstaking process" was "underway to search and also preserve the scene".

She also acknowledged the strain this was placing on the families of people who are presumed to have died in the tragedy.

Earlier, the father of a missing man, Mark O'Prey, told the BBC about his frustration over the amount of time the operation was taking.

Ian O'Prey said: "I thought if they'd made a better attempt on the Saturday night, I thought they perhaps could have got them out a lot earlier than they did but I think they were more concerned about this helicopter."

Referring to this and other families' concerns, Deputy Chief Constable Fitzpatrick said: "The uncertainty for the families of those who have died is at the front out our minds.

"It remains our absolute priority to give clarity to those affected as soon as we are able."

Earlier, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told BBC Scotland firefighters were working as quickly and safely as possible.

"I know that those in the air accident investigation side of this have described this as one of the most complex sites that they've ever worked on," she said.

"It's important that the helicopter is removed in a way that firstly preserves the dignity of the victims inside the pub, but secondly doesn't impose any unnecessary risks on the people carrying out this work.

"I fully and completely understand the frustration and the anguish for people who are waiting for news."

Two of the six victims inside the pub have been named as Samuel McGhee, 56, of Glasgow, and 48-year-old Gary Arthur, from Paisley, Renfrewshire.

The three dead helicopter crew were pilot David Traill, 51, and Police Constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde medical director, Dr Jennifer Armstrong, confirmed that of the 32 people who were injured in the crash, 12 remain in hospital.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2013 BBC

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