November 30, 2013
Eight people have died and dozens more have been injured after a police helicopter crashed onto a Glasgow bar close to the River Clyde in Scotland on Nov. 29.
The helicopter, a twin-engined Eurocopter EC135 T2 operated by Bond Air Services on behalf of Police Scotland, crashed into the flat roof of the Clutha Vaults public house in the city center at 10:25 p.m. on Nov. 29. The two police officers and the civilian pilot who were in the helicopter died in the crash, while the other casualties were inside the building.
Emergency services were on the scene within minutes and began rescuing the injured, with 32 people taken to three hospitals in the Glasgow area. Fourteen are still hospitalized, some with very serious injuries.
It is thought about 120 people were in the pub at the time of the crash. Many were rescued or escaped but others were trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.
The U.K. Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has sent a team to Glasgow to begin an investigation.
The accident is likely to once again focus attention on helicopter operations over built-up urban areas.
This is the second incident involving a helicopter in an urban area in the U.K. this year. Two people died on Jan. 16 when a privately-owned Agusta A109 twin-engined helicopter crashed into a crane while approaching London’s Heliport in Battersea. The AAIB is still to report on that accident, but operators fear it could result in a clamp down on helicopter operations, even by twin-engined aircraft over urban areas.
Police Scotland’s EC135 is a 2007-built Turbomeca Arrius-powered aircraft registered G-SPAO, and is operated by Gloucestershire-based Bond Air Services which supplies and operates aircraft for a number of U.K. air ambulance trusts and other agencies around the U.K. Bond says it is working with Police Scotland and the emergency services.
The EC135 is the most commonly used helicopter for law enforcement operations in the U.K., and the type has a strong safety record.