A police helicopter crashed into the roof of a pub in Glasgow on Friday evening. One eyewitnesses said the aircraft dropped "from a great height at a great speed... like a stone". Rescue efforts were in "full operation", according to Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond, while police confirmed that two officer and a civilian were on board during the incident.

Salmond added that there was a "likelihood" of fatalities after the helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha bar, close to the Clyde River.

"A major incident has been declared after the Eurocopter EC135 T2 - with a crew of three consisting of two police officers and a civilian pilot - came down on the roof of a pub in Stockwell Street at 10.25pm,” said a local police spokesperson. "Emergency services responded immediately and remain at the scene at the present time. Cordons have been put in place to allow the rescue operation to take place."

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The First Minister tweeted: "I can confirm that it is a police helicopter which has been involved in the tragic accident in Glasgow.
"Rescue efforts in full operation. Given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities."

Labour's international development spokesman Jim Murphy said he saw a "pile of people clammering out" of the Clutha bar, adding he formed a human chain with other rescuers to help pass unconscious people out of the pub. "I was driving past about 10:15 and saw something had happened," he said. "I jumped out and tried to help. There were people with injuries. Bad gashes to the head. Some were unconscious. I don't know how many. The helicopter was inside the pub. It's a mess. I could only get a yard or two inside. I helped carry people out."

He went on: "My human instinct kicked in. I didn't like what I was seeing but I did what everyone else was doing and got stuck in. I feel like I'm in shock now. It's a horrible scene." Murphy told Sky News people formed a human chain to help pass unconscious people out of the pub so that "inch by inch, we could get the people out".

Gordon Smart, editor of the Sun's Scottish edition, told Sky News: "I was in a car park and looked up and saw a helicopter which I think was a police helicopter. It was just such a surreal moment. It looked like it was dropping from a great height at a great speed. I'm about 80% sure that it was a police helicopter. There was no fire ball and I did not hear an explosion. It fell like a stone. The engine seemed to be spluttering."

According to their Facebook page, nine-piece Glasgow ska band Esperanza were playing at the venue. Grace MacLean, who was inside the pub at the time of the crash, told BBC News: "There was a ska band on in the pub just at the back and it was fairly busy. "We were all just having a nice time and then there was like a 'whoosh' noise - there was no bang, there was no explosion - and then there was some smoke, what seemed like smoke. The band were laughing and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down.

clutha

Emergency services at the scene

"They carried on playing and then it started to come down more and someone started screaming and then the whole pub just filled with dust. You couldn't see anything, you couldn't breathe. It was a real testament to the people of Glasgow, everyone in that pub was shouting 'here's the door', they were helping each other out."

A message on the band's Facebook page read: "Thanks for all the messages. I've just spoken to Jake and Jason. It seems that the band are all OK. Not so sure about everyone else." MacLean said: "People started coming out with injuries and blood and everyone was going over and trying to help out. I don't think it crashed, if it had crashed there would have been fire, there would have been a noise, but we didn't hear anything, it was the smoke that we noticed. I think maybe whoever was in the helicopter just tried to land on the roof or something. The propellers could have been on but everyone seemed to be okay. I don't know if anyone is trapped in there but there wasn't anyone screaming for someone."

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Claire Morris, who lives near the Clutha bar, told BBC News: "We heard this bang. We didn't really know what had happened and then we heard people coming out and screaming. I wasn't sure whether there had been an explosion. My daughter said to me it was a helicopter that had hit the roof. Police are everywhere. We are just very shaken. It was just a bang, my daughter said it was like a firework explosion, something like that. There doesn't appear to be a fire."

One image of the crash showed the dark blue helicopter on the roof with yellow "POLICE" insignia on part of the wreckage. The Police Roll of Honour Trust tweeted "Our thoughts are with the crew of @policescotland SP99 helicopter that has crashed in Glasgow - hoping everyone is alright."

The Scottish Ambulance Service tweeted: "Can confirm multiple ambulance crews and Special Operations Team on scene at site of helicopter crash in Glasgow." A spokeswoman for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: "It is obviously a major incident. There are numerous fire engines there; 15 fire engines at the moment along with specialist services."

Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Absolutely awful news about a helicopter crashing into the Clutha. All my thoughts are with everyone involved & the emergency services". Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "My thoughts are with everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow - and the emergency services working."

Glasgow Central Mosque, located close to the pub on the opposite side of the Clyde, tweeted: "Have told emergency crew that we r on standby & can make available mosque & volunteers to assist in any way to aid injured & emergency crew."

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  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter before being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    The wreckage of the police three-tonne Eurocopter being lifted from the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow following the crash which killed at least nine people.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING DATE Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING DATE Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING DATE Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove the rear rotor of a police helicopter that crashed into the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre on Friday evening, as work to recover bodies from the pub continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers on board the helicopter.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove the rear rotor of a police helicopter that crashed into the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre on Friday evening, as work to recover bodies from the pub continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers on board the helicopter.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove the rear rotor of a police helicopter that crashed into the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre on Friday evening, as work to recover bodies from the pub continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers on board the helicopter.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    A woman is comforted after leaving flowers near to the scene of Friday evening's helicopter crash, as emergency services continue to remove wreckage, to enable the recovery of bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Firefighters at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Firefighters at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Firefighters at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Firefighters at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Firefighters at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Scottish Fire and Rescue services at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Scottish Fire and Rescue service and rescue workers at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Scottish Fire and Rescue firefighters and USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Flowers near to the scene of Friday evening's helicopter crash, as emergency services continue to remove wreckage, to enable the recovery of bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    A police officer escorts a young boy as he leaves flowers near to the scene as emergency services remove wreckage to enable them to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Flowers left near to the scene as emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Police officers reflected in a window as flowers are left near to the scene as emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    A special service led by Reverend Dr Laurence Whitley at Glasgow Cathedral to remember the victims of the Glasgow helicopter crash, also attended by Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (front row, second right) and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill (front row, right).

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    A special service led by Reverend Dr Laurence Whitley at Glasgow Cathedral to remember the victims of the Glasgow helicopter crash, also attended by Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (front row, second right) and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill (front row, right).

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    A police officer escorts a young boy as he leaves flowers near to the scene as emergency services remove wreckage to enable them to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House (centre) speaks at a press conference in Glasgow as Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) and Scottish Ambulance Service Head of Risk & Resilience Gary Hardacre (right) looks on after it was announced that eight people have died after a police helicopter crashed into the roof of the Clutha pub.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Members of the emergency services at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow where a police helicopter crashed last night.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    A police officer patroling the temporary perimeter fencing surounding The Clutha Bar in Glasgow after a helicopter crashed into it last night.

  • Soccer - William Hill Scottish Cup - Fourth Round - Albion Rovers v Motherwell - New Douglas Park

    Motherwell during a minutes silence for the Glasgow helicopter crash victims during the Fourth Round William Hill Scottish Cup match at New Douglas Park, Hamilton.

  • Soccer - William Hill Scottish Cup - Fourth Round - Albion Rovers v Motherwell - New Douglas Park

    A minutes silence is held for the Glasgow helicopter crash victims during the Fourth Round William Hill Scottish Cup match at New Douglas Park, Hamilton.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Members of the emergency services work at the scene of The Clutha Bar helicopter crash, Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Members of the emergency services work at the scene of The Clutha Bar helicopter crash, Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Members of the emergency services work at the scene of The Clutha Bar helicopter crash, Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    John McGarrigle, 38, holds a mobile phone showing a photo of him with his father also John McGarrigle, 59, who he says was killed in The Clutha Bar helicopter crash, Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    John McGarrigle, 38, speaks to the media as he says that his father, also John McGarrigle, 59, was killed in The Clutha Bar helicopter crash, Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Emergency services at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow where a police helicopter crashed last night.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Scottish Fire and Rescue firefighters at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Scottish Fire and Rescue firefighters and USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Police and Scottish Fire and Rescue services at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Scottish Fire and Rescue USAR (Urban Search and Rescue)teams at the scene of a helicopter crash at the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

  • Glasgow helicopter crash

    Members of the emergency services working on the roof of the Clutha Bar in Glasgow where a helicopter crashed last night.