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Prince Charles visits site of Clutha crash

Prince Charles has visited the site where a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub, killing nine people.

Picture: Colin Templeton
Picture: Colin Templeton

Charles met members of the emergency services at the Clutha bar in Glasgow where tragedy struck a week ago.

He heard about the complex rescue and recovery operation from Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House.

The Prince, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, also spoke to Alasdair Hay, chief officer of Scottish Fire and Rescue, and Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

He will later sign a book of condolence at the City Chambers.

Two police constables and a civilian pilot were killed when the helicopter crashed on to the roof of the busy pub on Friday night while returning from a police operation. The crew members were captain David Traill, 51, and officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.

Six people died inside the pub where live music was being played at the time. They were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, Colin Gibson, 33, John McGarrigle, 57, Gary Arthur, 48, and Samuel McGhee, 56.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited the crash site earlier this week and tributes have also been laid at the scene by Glasgow-born comedian and actor Billy Connolly, Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers manager Ally McCoist.

Air crash investigators have begun an examination of the wreckage.

Charles spent around 10 minutes inside the Clutha, surveying the destroyed interior.

More than a dozen bags of rubble and a large pile of wooden planks sat outside the pub behind a large police cordon.

Owner Alan Crossan met the Prince and said he appreciated the visit.

"It's a special thing for people who have been affected and for the emergency services, who did an incredible job," he said.

Charles went on to meet a number of crash survivors including Calum Grierson and John Robson.

The two were with six friends in the Clutha when the helicopter hit.

They were visiting the scene today to see the hundreds of floral tributes laid near the pub.

Mr Grierson, 59, from Hamilton, Lanarkshire, said a friend called Alan pulled him and others from the Clutha.

Walking with a stick and with a cut and bruise on his head, he said: "Our feet were stuck. We couldn't get out ourselves. If Alan hadn't got us out ... he didn't think twice about coming back in."

Mr Robson, 62, from Glasgow, said: "I thought a bomb had gone off. It just went black. It was terrifying.

"The next thing we were on the ground. Then Alan came in shouting 'don't panic, we'll get you out'."

Mr Robson said: "It was amazing the amount of people that came running towards you, going 'are you okay' and trying to get you sat down and get you some water."

Both men said they appreciated the Prince of Wales's visit.

Charles later met around 40 health workers who were involved in the immediate response to the helicopter crash.

He was introduced to a range of staff who work for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, meeting people who took on a variety of roles both at the city's hospitals and at the scene of the tragedy.

Nurses, doctors and other clinical staff were among those he met at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, along with hospital porters and administrative workers.

The visit to the hospital's New Lister Building was an extra stop during his trip to Glasgow, in addition to the engagements published on his website.

More than 30 people were treated in hospitals across the city for injuries suffered in the accident. Thirty-two were admitted in the immediate aftermath and one person went to hospital on Monday after consulting their GP.

The patients were initially treated at three locations: Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Victoria Infirmary and the Western Infirmary. Subsequently, four people were transferred to the spinal injury unit at Southern General Hospital.

Today, six patients remain in the Royal Infirmary and four are still at the Southern General.

Fractures, head injuries and spinal injuries were some of the main injuries suffered by those caught up in the accident.

On hearing about the crash, hundreds of staff volunteered to go in to work to help with the emergency response, the heath board said.

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

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