Pub-goers tell of 'huge bang' at Glasgow bar

2013-11-30 17:39
Firefighters inspect the damage after a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a popular pub in Glasgow, Scotland. (Andrew Milligan, AP)

Firefighters inspect the damage after a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a popular pub in Glasgow, Scotland. (Andrew Milligan, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Glascgow - Pub-goers inside The Clutha bar in Glasgow told Saturday how the roof collapsed shortly after they heard a giant thud, as a police helicopter plummeted onto the crowded bar.

In the initial confusion, "I thought 'has the band blown something electrical like a speaker?' said client William Byrne.

He and others recounted how customers and passers-by helped pull the wounded from the wreckage and tried to shift debris to allow others to escape.

At least one person was killed and 32 others taken by ambulance to city hospitals, police said, as the search for more possible victims continued.

Revellers in the one-storey pub, by the River Clyde in the city centre, were watching Glaswegian ska band Esperanza play when the chopper hit the one-storey bar at around 22: 25 GMT on a busy Friday night.

Byrne, 45, from Coatbridge, east of the city, was in the bar with his brother and a friend, when the helicopter hit.

"I was just coming back from the other side of the pub and there was a huge bang," he told BBC television.

"There was a couple of seconds of almost stillness after this bang and then the whole other side of the pub collapsed in on itself, the roof and the gantry of the bar collapsed.

"The side we were in was covered in dust but, from debris, relatively unscathed," he said, with the bar going dark.

"The left hand side of the pub just collapsed. People on our side of the pub were so, so lucky.

"I went outside, we held the door open, trying to make people to file out one by one.

"We've gone back in and helped lift the gantry up and get a few people out."

Brendan Riordan, said it had been tough to move in the bar with the amount of people enjoying the concert.

He told the BBC he heard "a very loud bang" before a cloud of dust filled the pub.

"I was on the right side of the pub where the band were performing", adding that the central and left sides had caved in.

"After I exited the pub I saw people coming out covered in blood and covered in dust.

"There were people quite desperate and just before I left the inside of the pub I noticed that the ceiling had fallen towards the bar.

"People were not aware that a helicopter had crash-landed on the pub."

Retired firefighter Edward Waltham ran inside to help with the rescue effort.

"I helped grab a couple of people. One gentleman in particular who was completely covered in dust, who had very shallow breathing and appeared to be quite badly injured." he told the BBC.

"My initial reaction for him from my experience was to try not to move him because he had been in a crush situation.

"But as we were lying there other people were literally being pulled out of the pub and more or less thrown on top of us."

Esperanza, the nine-piece group playing a free gig in the venue, said the group was safe and well.

"Our only concern now is for the safety and welfare of those less fortunate than ourselves," they said on their Facebook page.

"Waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real," said Jessica Combe, the band's bassist and general manager.

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

Read more on:    scotland  |  air crashes

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.