GLASGOW: Scottish authorities were on Sunday investigating what caused a police helicopter to plunge through the roof of a busy Glasgow pub, as emergency services worked to recover the remains of at least eight people killed.
Police said recovery work was difficult because the wreckage of the Clutha pub was still unsafe following Friday night’s freak accident, while 14 people were still in hospital with serious injuries.
Special prayers for the dead will be held at Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday as the nation mourns on what was supposed to be a weekend of festivities for Saint Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s patron saint.
Witnesses said the helicopter dropped “like a stone” onto the pub where more than 100 people were watching a band play. Three people on the helicopter and five people in the bar are so far known to have been killed.
The first victim whose body was recovered from the scene was named as Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area of Glasgow, whose daughter Chloe plays for the women’s first team of Celtic football club.
“Extensive efforts continue to recover the remaining bodies from the scene but due to ongoing safety constraints this is likely to take some time,” Police Scotland said in a statement.
The wreckage of the Eurocopter EC135 on the roof remained covered by a tarpaulin more than 24 hours after the accident, with one of the rotors still visible, with a crane also on site.
Police appealed for anyone with video footage of the crash to send it to them, saying it “may be of help to the team as they investigate the cause of the crash.”
Britain’s Air Accident Investigation Bureau said it had sent a team to the scene amid reports that the company that leased the chopper to the police had temporarily grounded that model last year.
Bond Air Services found a crack on part of the main rotor and grounded its fleet of 22 EC135s for a month while it carried out checks and reported it to Eurocopter and the European Aviation Safety Agency, the Guardian newspaper said.
Bond was not immediately available for comment.