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Helicopter Crashes Into Glasgow Pub: Eight Die

Eight people are confirmed to have died and 14 remain seriously injured after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow.

The three aircraft crew - two officers and a civilian pilot - were among those killed on Friday night, Police Scotland said.

Five other people lost their lives in the Clutha bar after the helicopter came through the roof of the lively city nightspot.

The pub had been packed with more than 100 people watching a band when the crash happened at 10.25pm.

Police say a rescue and recovery operation - described as "very sensitive and complex" - is continuing at the premises, suggesting people may still be trapped in the building.

The mangled wreckage of the aircraft remained embedded in the middle of the building as the search went on.

The 14 injured people remain seriously injured in three hospitals in Glasgow. 

A total of 32 were admitted and 18 of them have been discharged. The wounded suffered mostly chest, spinal and head injuries as well as fractures and lacerations.

Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are carrying out a major investigation into the crash.

A tent was erected on top of the pub on Saturday morning to cover some of the wreckage as a rotor could be seen protruding from the roof.

Eyewitnesses have described the helicopter "falling like a stone" on to the roof, while some have suggested that there was a problem with the aircraft's rotor.

Grace MacLean, who was inside the pub when the helicopter struck, told Sky News: "Someone started shouting and the band cut the music ... and then all of a sudden this cloud of dust came.

"You couldn't breathe for inhaling a mouthful of dust. You couldn't see anything. You were clawing at the walls to see where the exit is."

William Byrne, who was listening to the band with his brother, said: "There was a huge bang and there was a couple of seconds of almost stillness after this band and then the whole other side of the pub from where I was collapsed and then the roof and gantry of the bar collapsed."

One worried relative at the scene of the crash, Alice Healy, told Sky News how she had not heard from her cousin who had been inside the pub when the aircraft hit.

Another, John McGarrigle, 38, said that he had been told by someone inside the pub that his 59-year-old father, also called John, had been sitting at precisely the spot the aircraft had come down and that he had been killed but that authorities had not been able to confirm this.

The Queen has said her "thoughts and prayers" were with the victims of the crash.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it's also St Andrew's Day and it's a day we can take pride and courage in how we respond to adversity and tragedy."

He praised the "instinctive bravery of ordinary Glaswegians" who went to the rescue of those trapped inside the pub and the emergency services.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband were among the other politicians who said their thoughts were with the victims' relatives.

Footage showed confusion outside the pub in the moments after the helicopter hit the roof and those inside the building told how it was 15 minutes before they knew what had happened.

People at the scene told how they worked to form a human chain to carry unconscious people out of the pub.

Among the helpers was Labour's international development spokesman Jim Murphy, who told Sky News: "I just saw dozens and dozens of people coming out of the pub. It is a horrible, horrible scene."

The 12m-long (40ft) helicopter, a EC135 T2, which is widely used by the police, has a good safety record, with one incident in 2007 after which the AAIB asked manufacturers Eurocopter to look at a stability system switch.

:: Members of the public concerned about relatives who may have been involved in the crash can call an emergency helpline on 0800 092 0410.

:: Officers are asking the public to send any photographs, audio or video footage they have of the incident or the surrounding areas to a dedicated email address which has been set up to receive media.

Anyone who has footage is asked to send it to glasgowhelicopterincident@scotland.pnn.police.uk.