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Bar owner praises emergency services and brave customers in poignant return

The owner of the Clutha Bar made an emotional return to the scene yesterday as rescuers finally removed the helicopter from the roof.

Alan Crossan paid tribute to the emergency services, to the brave customers who risked their lives to save others on that fateful night and to the hundreds of people who have been in touch to offer help since the tragedy.

He said: "I'm proud to be Glaswegian. The way they are, they are incredible people.

"They never cease to amaze you, the way they just face things head on and get amongst it.

"That's the way they are. They are amazing people and it's an amazing city.

"We've been offered help from the trade and everybody has contacted us. It's incredible."

Mr Crossan, who was not at the pub at the time of the crash because he was recovering at home from a heart attack, added: "I'm still numb.

"It was around 10.30, seven minutes after it happened, I heard the roof was falling in.

"Then I got another call after that saying it was a helicopter that was in it. It was just disbelief."

Mr Crossan explained how he made his way down to the bar in the aftermath of the tragedy but when he got there it was surrounded by emergency services.

Yesterday, as he surveyed the scene of devastation and the rescue activity, he had nothing but praise for the professionalism of the rescue teams.

"I've got to say what incredible job they have done," he said.

"Also, the people that were in at the time, customers and staff, they got people out. It was amazing what they did to help in the situation. They come from all over to come to the Clutha because of the live music."

He spoke about the kind of venue it was and the type of people who called in to make it the place it was.

"There are people who come from Cumbernauld, Castlemilk and Easterhouse. It's not like a local pub, people come from far over.

"It's actually the people that make the Clutha, it's not the building.

"Anything that has happened to that building doesn't matter.

"It's the people - the staff, the bands that play in it and the customers - they are the Clutha.

"The staff are ok. There are two in hospital just now. I saw them last night and they were in good spirits.

"The thing they are asking is 'is everybody else ok?'"

Mr Corssan said that he was still numb with shock. He said he thought he was going to wake up and the tragedy was just a film he had seen.

He said: "It's affecting everybody, even the politicians, experienced police officers, you can see it in their interviews. It's a horrible feeling.

"The building doesn't matter, it's only bricks and mortar. It's the people that matter.

"The important thing we do now is look after the staff and the customers and it has been suggested the way to do that is having a charity concert for them.

"I'm going to speak to Gordon Matheson shortly about how we take that forward.

"Apart from grief and things like that there will be financial difficulties for people and we hope to try to sort that out as soon as we can."

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