Police in Glasgow say that the number of dead has risen to eight after a police helicopter crashed into a crowded pub late Friday. Rescue crews are now digging through the partly destroyed building, hoping to save trapped survivors. Authorities say that 14 people have been taken to area hospitals for injuries.
As reported by USA Today, police in Glasgow say that everyone on the police helicopter died in the crash. Two police officers and a civilian were aboard the aircraft when it careened into the roof of the busy pub. Among those in the pub, known as The Clutha, five were killed.
Chief Constable of Police Scotland Stephen House calls the dangerous situation will need a “complex and ongoing rescue operation.” He says that emergency workers will likely be working for days to come.
ABC News reports on several eyewitnesses who were on the scene. One person described being inside the pub and hearing a “whoosh noise” followed by what seemed like smoke but was actually dust. She says the pub became chaotic after that as it filled with dust. “You couldn’t see anything, you couldn’t breathe. Every time you took a breath you were kind of caught in your mouth.” Witnesses recall seeing people fleeing the smashed pub, some covered in blood with shocking injuries.
Another witness, Gordon Smart, says he was walking out to his car when the police helicopter crashed into the Glasgow pub’s roof. Smart recalls the sound of a misfiring engine above him, in the air. At first he was unable to spot the source of the sound but he soon noticed a “helicopter falling from the sky” as the engine sounds became increasingly louder. Smart says he watched as it crashed into the nearby pub but was relieved when there was no explosion or fireball.
A local ska band called Esperanza was performing a free show at the pub as the helicopter crashed, sources at USA Today report. Confused about what was happening, the band joked that they “had made the roof come down” and continued to play. Soon, though, an injured patron began screaming and it was clear there had been an accident.
Police in Glasgow say that nearly 120 people were inside the pub Friday night.
[Image via Twitter / Connor Gillies]