• MySTV

Eyewitnesses give accounts of Glasgow pub police helicopter crash

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy was driving past as the Police Scotland aircraft hit the Clutha Bar on Stockwell Street.

Jim Murphy speaking at the scene of the Glasgow helicopter crash

Eyewitnesses have described the moment a police helicopter crashed into the Clutha Bar in Glasgow on Friday night.

Jim Murphy, shadow minister for International Development, was nearby when the aircraft crashed into the popular venue on the banks of the River Clyde. Eight people are now confirmed dead and 14 seriously injured in the crash.

Mr Murphy, who is MP for East Renfrewshire, told STV: "I was just going into a pub nearby and you could hear the noise of the helicopter overhead. I was in the car and got out and walked round to the Clutha moments after the helicopter hit.

"I saw people coming out of the pub. A lot of people were covered in dust. Some were conscious, some were unconscious. There were injuries. Those who were conscious had head wounds.

"The walking wounded told me a band was playing inside. Some inside the pub said they didn't know a helicopter had hit. I didn't see it either - I just saw them coming out.

"I would say there were about ten injured people outside the pub when I arrived. Four or five of them were unconscious. Three or four of the conscious had head wounds."

John McGarrigle, 38, said he feared for the safety of his father, also John McGarrigle, 59, who was in the pub.

He said: "I think he was in there when it crashed. I've checked every hospital and there's no sign of him. I'm very anxious. I'm just going to stand here till I see casualties come out of the building."

Eyewitness John Bremner said he was in Trongate when he saw the helicopter drop "like a 10p piece".

He said: "Literally in seconds it just stopped in mid-air and just fell. It dropped in the most eerie silence followed by a bang. Not even a bang, more a rumble.

"It wasn't that high, maybe 100ft above the Holiday Inn. It was staying there. It wasn't hovering, just there, not purposely.

"It dropped instantly. Like something out of a disaster movie. The lights were still on. That made it stand out. They were still on as it dropped. It just dropped. Like dropping a 10p. Followed by a rumble."

Martine Leitch was inside the Clutha Vaults with friends, who were supporting a friend in the band that was playing at the time.

She told STV: "One of the girls we skate with [in roller derby] were in the band Esperanza. We were down supporting her. We don't normally go along. A lot of the crowd were similar.

"We were sitting at the side of the stage. We saw the wood on the bar buckle out and thought the support had moved. The band stopped and joked about it.

"Then people said 'we need to get out'. Within ten seconds of putting on our coats, the whole place was covered in dust. We kept together and got out. One of the girls we were with didn't come out at first but she was helping others.

"We were right at the stage. You wouldn't have known. We just saw wood buckle at the bar. We thought part of the ceiling come down. Then saw dust and thought it was more serious.

"We thought half the bar had collapsed. We didn't realise the whole ceiling had given way. Within ten seconds there was a lot of dust and we couldn't see. There were a lot of people coming out with blood on the head and face. We were coughing and some were wheezing. It was jam packed, absolutely packed.

"We play a dangerous sport... we didn't think going for a drink would be dangerous."

Mark Weatherall, who was in the area at the time of the crash, said: "Me and my girlfriend saw it happening from about 30 seconds to a minute before it happened. We were walking through the car park at the back end of St Enoch's at the other side of Slaters.

"We could see a bright light shining down and saw it was a helicopter, it didn't take long to realise it was rapidly decreasing in altitude before my girlfriend said it was flying really low. Next thing we heard something pop in the helicopter which I assume was the engine or something mechanical before the helicopter just dropped out of the sky disappearing behind the building looking over Clutha.

"We heard a bang and saw people running towards the scene and when we got round there was a large group outside with casualties being brought out of the pub and people helping them to get out."

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.

"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."

Taxi driver Michael Bishop, aged 42, heard the commotion but did not realise what had happened.

He said: "I heard this bang, which could've been anything... then my phone started ringing with my wife and sister calling to see if I was okay. I mean you're sitting in a pub drinking, it's the last thing you'd expect.

"There's live bands on there almost every night. There's always people, I pick up from there all the time. Can you imagine going outside for a cigarette and seeing this thing fall out of the sky?

"With the crash and the fire [at a Pitt Street takeaway], it's been one hell of a day for Glasgow."

Eddie Waltham who helped rescue people from the Clutha.

Eddie Waltham was on his way to meet his friend Douglas Naismith in the Clutha when the helicopter crashed into the bar.

The 57-year-old said: "I was making my way towards the Clutha to have a drink and listen to the live music and join my friend who was already in there.

"If I had finished that pint in a previous pub a little bit quicker I would have been standing next to him inside that bar. My friend was then trapped. He has serious shoulder injuries and he's in hospital.

"As I approached the bar there was a very loud explosion followed by a cloud of smoke and dust above the bar. I realised very quickly that there had been a serious incident, so I ran across the road to see what I could do to help.

"I had absolutely no idea what had happened. What was obvious to me, when I looked at the debris that was covering the front door, was that there had been a major collapse, a severe collapse in a very, very busy pub, so without knowing what was happening it was obvious to me that there was numerous casualties.

"A lot of people were exiting the pub in whatever way they could. A lot of them were trying to do something for the ones that were still trapped.

"People had various injuries. Some people had obvious cuts and lacerations, other people had less obvious injuries, but everybody was absolutely covered in dust. Everybody that came out of there looked bad from the dust alone.

"Anybody who was in that bar who got out alive must consider themselves very fortunate."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.