BRITAIN - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT
Rescue workers cover the wreckage of a police helicopter which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow, Scotland November 30, 2013. The police helicopter crashed into the pub in Glasgow on Friday night, causing multiple injuries as dust and debris was thrown across the busy drinking hole during a concert, eye witnesses said. Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said people should prepare for the likelihood of fatalities. Three people were on board the helicopter, police said. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne (BRITAIN - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT) - RTX15YDG Russell Cheyne/Reuters
Scottish police say at least one person has died from the crash of a police helicopter onto a crowded Glasgow pub.
Chief constable Stephen House says the number of fatalities is expected to rise.
He told reporters Saturday that 32 people were taken to hospitals after the crash on the roof of The Clutha pub in central Glasgow.
House says specialist search and rescue teams are working to make sure everyone is recovered from the scene.
Scotland's leader Alex Salmond called it a "black day" for the nation.
Injured revellers who were at the pub to see a ska band fled through a cloud of dust in what witnesses called a scene of horror after the crash Friday night.
Photos aired on local television showed what appeared to be part of the helicopter's rotors sticking out of the top of the pub's roof. Rescue workers swarmed the door of the pub and several fire trucks were on the scene.
First Minister Alex Salmond confirmed that a police chopper was involved in the crash, saying that rescue efforts at The Clutha pub in the city's centre were in full swing.
"Scottish resilience operation now mobilized," he said on his official Twitter account. "Given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities."
The helicopter had a crew of three — two police officers and a civilian pilot, according to Scottish police. Police said the aircraft was a Eurocopter EC135 T2 and came down around 10:25 p.m. local time. Emergency services responded immediately.
There were reports that people may have been trapped inside, but they could not be immediately confirmed. Glasgow ska band Esperanza was playing when the helicopter began to fall through the ceiling, witnesses said.
"It seems that the band are all OK. Not so sure about everyone else," the band's official Facebook page said.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene as people rushed through a cloud of dust to get out, some with bad gashes to the head and other injuries.
Grace MacLean, who was inside the pub at the time of the crash, said she was "having a nice time" when there was a "whoosh" noise — then smoke.
"The band were laughing and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down," she told the BBC. "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.
Helicopter 'inside the pub'
People formed a human chain to help pass unconscious people out of the pub so that "inch by inch, we could get the people out," said Labour Party spokesman Jim Murphy, who happened to be in the area when the helicopter came down.
"The helicopter was inside the pub. It's a mess. I could only get a yard or two inside. I helped carry people out," Murphy told Sky News. "I saw a pile of people clambering out of the pub in the dust. No smoke, no fire, just a huge amount of dust."
He called it "a horrible, horrible scene."
Gordon Smart, editor of the Scottish edition of the Sun newspaper, told Sky News that the helicopter "fell like a stone."
"There was no fireball and I did not hear an explosion," he said. "The engine seemed to be spluttering."
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "My thoughts are with everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow - and the emergency services working tonight."