Glasgow helicopter crash: Ninth body found
- 2 December 2013
- From the section Scotland
A ninth body has been found in the wreckage of a Glasgow pub where a police helicopter crashed on Friday night, Police Scotland says.
It earlier named three dead helicopter crew as pilot David Traill, 51, and Police Constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and 43-year-old Tony Collins.
Police have also named another of the six people who died in the Clutha bar as Samuel McGhee, 56, of Glasgow.
Gary Arthur, 48, of Paisley, was earlier named as one of the six.
Police Scotland said it could not rule out the possibility of more bodies being found.
The force's helicopter crashed into the pub as it was returning from an earlier operation at about 22:25 on Friday.
Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick, speaking at the crash scene early on Monday morning, said: "I can confirm that sadly a further body has tonight been located and removed from the scene."
She added: "Efforts are ongoing as we speak to establish the identity of the latest fatality.
She also named Mr McGhee.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends tonight as they are with all those affected by this tragedy," she said.
Police Scotland's "absolute priority has been to locate the bodies of people who were within the pub at the time of the incident and recover them safely", she added.
"This process takes time as formal identification procedures have to take place before we can notify relatives and publicly confirm identities."
She said work would go on "throughout the night to stabilise the scene in order to continue to progress the search and recovery".
Her colleague, Chief Constable Sir Stephen House earlier paid tribute to the helicopter crew.
"Kirsty and Tony were members of the Police Scotland Operational Support Division," he said.
"They were part of the helicopter unit.
"Captain Dave Traill had worked with the police for over four years and was very much a part of our team."
Sir Stephen added: "I'd like to pay tribute to all of them and the work that they did over the years keeping people safe across Scotland.
"Both of the officers involved had previously been commended by the police for bravery and different acts."
Work is continuing to lift the wreckage of the helicopter from the roof of the pub. Sections of the rotor blade were hoisted away from the roof at about 10:30.
Sir Stephen said once the helicopter was completely removed from the scene, specialist personnel would be able to enter the pub and start completely searching, and clearing, the rubble.
It would not be until this was done that it would be possible to say for sure exactly how many people had died, he added.
Of the 32 people who were injured in the crash, 12 remain in hospital. Three of these casualties were being treated in intensive care, where their conditions were described as serious but stable.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Glasgow Royal Infirmary where seven of the survivors were being treated.
She said she had spoken to two patients who were "upset and traumatised".
"Both of them expressed concern for others and described themselves as being lucky to be alive," she said.
The deputy first minister also revealed that she was surprised to discover that she knew one of the survivors.
She said they both enjoyed a "nice chat" and it was nice to speak to someone who was at the crash scene and was now recovering.
On Saturday night, Police Scotland said in a statement that the body of Mr Arthur had been recovered.
Mr Arthur's daughter Chloe, 18, who has played for the Scotland women's football team and for Celtic women, took to Twitter to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and to pledge that she would make her much-loved father proud.
The under-19 forward for Celtic and Scotland tweeted: "RIP dad. you'll always mean the world to me, I promise to do you proud, I love you with all my heart.
"Thanks to everyone who has tweeted me, text me etc, means so much, I have the most amazing friends ever."
Mr Arthur was a regular on the sidelines watching his daughter play at matches, according to Celtic women's manager David Haley.
He said: "It is a tragedy that Chloe's father was one of eight innocent victims in this terrible accident - he was regularly seen at Celtic matches, watching his daughter.
"Chloe and her family have the full support of everyone at Celtic and across the women's game at this very sad time."
A minute's silence will be held before Celtic's Scottish Cup tie against Hearts at Tynecastle.
Celtic FC and the Scottish Football Association also sent their condolences.
Social network tributes have been paid to the other victims.
A post on the Facebook page of Mr Traill's cousin Heather Lawson read: "RIP David Traill my lovely big cousin away far too soon xxx".
Many of Mrs Nelis's friends changed their profile pictures to a black square cut across by a thin blue line in remembrance.
Andrina Romano said: "For my beautiful friend Kirsty and all others involved. You will never be forgotten and I will miss you every day. RIP."
Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, told BBC Radio Scotland the process of identifying and officially naming victims was taking time because it was a "very difficult balancing act".
He said: "There are formal identification processes to follow, so unfortunately we have to make sure we follow due process or we could leave ourselves being criticised very heavily by the families who have unfortunately lost a loved one in this incident."
The BBC's Scotland correspondent Colin Blane said emergency teams working through the wreckage had two main purposes.
They wanted to be sure they had located everyone who might have been trapped inside and they wanted to recover as much of the police helicopter as they could to help find out what went wrong.
Aviation expert Chris Yates told the BBC that after the helicopter was lifted it would be moved to a secure site for detailed investigation.
A special service to remember the victims of the crash was held at Glasgow Cathedral.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House attended along with Nicola Sturgeon, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and members of the emergency services.
Meanwhile, officers from Police Scotland's major investigations team have asked for any footage of the incident to be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the crash was the first major test of Scotland's new national police service and national fire and rescue services.
"I think, along with their colleagues in the ambulance and heath service, everyone knows and understands just how magnificent that response has been," he said.
In a separate inquiry, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will try to establish what caused the crash.
Its team will be assisted by experts from Eurocopter, which manufactured the EC135 T2 aircraft.
Prof Graham Braithwaite, an air accident expert at Cranfield University, said the crash investigation could take more than a year.
He said: "If it's the Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigation then they're doing it, not to allocate blame or liability, but to try to find out how to make these aircraft safer in the future, so that can take many months."
David Learmount, from the aviation news website, Flight Global, said the crash looked likely to have been caused by a mechanical failure.
"We can deduce a fair amount about the nature of the problem that the pilot faced by the fact that this aircraft ended up hitting a pub," he said.
"If the pilot had had any control at all, he would have aimed it away from a building."
Helicopter operator Bond Air Services will assist Police Scotland and the AAIB with their investigations.
The Clutha, in Stockwell Street by the River Clyde, was packed with about 120 people listening to live music when the helicopter crashed on to the roof.
Eyewitnesses outside described how the aircraft "fell like a stone".
Others described people working together to get out of the pub aided by others who were in the area.
Alleena Coupe, who was in the pub, told BBC Radio 5 live's Stephen Nolan: "I heard this 'whoosh' sound like when you take the seal off something, then this cloud of dust came down and, within five seconds, nobody could see anything."
She said she had a torch with her which she used to guide people out of the pub.
"The dust was choking, it burned our throats," she added. "People were running about and panicking while everyone was trying to help get anyone out."
Stand-up comedian Gary Faulds, meanwhile, told BBC News he had dropped his mother off at the pub shortly before the accident.
"My mum had just got inside and was hanging her coat up in a little alcove by the left door as you go into the bar when the crash happened.
"She said she thought it was a bomb going off because you never imagine it is a helicopter."
Both his mother and his aunt, who had 20 stitches to the back of her head, had been treated - and released - from hospital, he said.
"I've heard about the deaths so I guess they were one of the lucky ones," he added.
Within the city, efforts continue to help survivors and the bereaved.
Glasgow City Council is operating a family reception centre, at 40 John Street, to help those affected.
The authority has also opened a book of condolence for people to sign at the City Chambers.
The Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410 - for those concerned about relatives.
Elsewhere, flags are flying at half-mast across the city and on Scottish government buildings.
A special BBC Scotland documentary, The Crash That Shook Scotland, will be broadcast on BBC 1 Scotland at 22:35 on Monday.