Glasgow Helicopter Crash Update

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
By George Hatcher

The “Bond Air Services Ltd. for Police Scotland” Eurocopter EC135 T2+ registration #G-SPAO with three aboard crashed in the Clutha Pub, Stockwell Street, Glasgow. Three of the victims were aboard, six on the ground.

Two witnesses Billy and Michael Byrne were inside the Clutha Vaults pub when the police helicopter crashed into it. The noise of the impact was indescribable, then…

There was a sort of silence.The whole ceiling at the left hand side of the bar, where it had been, had collapsed in on itself and the gantry of the bar also collapsed. There was an initial bout of screaming. There was a huge ball of dust. I went and opened the doors. Whilst I was holding the door I could see my brother…

Then, after finding each other, the two assisted where they could.

I think that person was conscious. He was moaning so he was conscious. There was a second person under him and that person, to me, didn’t look conscious — he was face-down. When we got out I spent time with a chap who was injured. He had a head injury. We put him in an ambulance and hopefully he is fine. We were fine. We were just lucky.

Others described the helicopter as tumbling at a strange angle, or that it dropped like a stone. Inside, the patrons of the bar heard a large bang before the lights went out. Others describe a whoosh, smoke, and eerie silence as the plane fell. The roof fell in, and dust floated in, choking everyone.

First responders were passers by. Some survivors walked away. The numbers of the casualties were initially 6 deceased, 32 hospitalized. The victims totaled nine, at last release. Two officers and a civilian pilot were aboard. Search and rescue dogs assisted in the search and rescue operation. Air accident investigation investigators, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and rescue personnel were on the scene.

The helicopter involved passed a safety check last year. The helicopter does not have a flight data recorder but some of the systems may have recoverable data.

Victims Named

  • Robert Jenkins, 61
  • Mark O’Prey, 44
  • Colin Gibson, 33
  • John McGarrigle, 57
  • Samuel McGhee, 56
  • Gary Arthur, 48
  • helicopter pilot David Traill, 51
  • PC Kirsty Nelis, 36
  • PC Tony Collins, 43

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