Tributes To Glasgow Crash Victims

Last updated 16:11 on 01/12/13

The Clutha Vaults following the crash. Photo: Jan Hollands/PA

Tributes from UK leaders and social media users have poured in following the Glasgow helicopter crash on Friday evening.

The police helicopter plummeted onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub on Stockwell Street in Glasgow city centre at around 10:30pm. Police have since confirmed that eight people have died – including three who were aboard the aircraft – while a further 12 are being treated for serious injuries in local hospitals. It is currently unclear what caused it to fall, but the fact that it collided with a building suggests that the pilot had little to no control over its descent.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted ‘Absolutely awful news… All my thoughts are with everyone involved and the emergency services.’ Alex Salmond later echoed her condolence, adding that ‘We take pride and courage in how we respond to adversity and tragedy. Response from emergency services and ordinary citizens has been exemplary.’

Labour MP for East Renfrewshire Jim Murphy, who was in the area at the time of the crash, praised the emergency services for acting ‘quickly, bravely and brilliantly.’

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband both tweeted that Glasgow was in their thoughts, the PM wishing those injured a ‘speedy recovery.’ The Queen also released a statement sending her thanks to those involved in the rescue.

Gary Arthur was one of eight people to die in the incident.

Gary Arthur was one of eight people to die in the incident

Glasgow’s Celtic Football Club took part in a minute of silence before their match against Hearts at Tynecastle today. One of the victims was Gary Arthur, father of Celtic Women’s team player Chloe Arthur. Manager Neil Lennon said ‘It’s hurt the city as a whole and when it’s so close to home it really resonates with everyone.’

Scottish musicians also paid their respects. Midge Ure took to Twitter to say ‘Proud of the way my fellow Glaswegians dealt with the immediate aftermath of the Clutha incident’ while the band Biffy Clyro were ‘sending [their] love’ to everyone in the city from their tour in Europe. Chvrches and Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos also sent regards via tweets.

Comedians Gavin Mitchell of Still Game, Greg McHugh of Gary: Tank Commander and Limmy’s Show creator Briand Limond were also quick to voice their support. McHugh posted ‘hope the images betray the outcome’ following the event, while Limond later added ‘Good to hear the blood donor places had folk queuing up.’

Meanwhile, Clutha Vaults staff updated their Facebook page thanking well-wishers for their messages. Their post praised their customers who were present at the scene for showing the ‘true spirit of Glasgow’ in an event ‘beyond comprehension and belief.’

Ross R Russell

Ross R Russell’s offensive tweet

However, not all messages were positive or accurate, including those of America’s Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist group whose views have widely been described as hateful. They tweeted ‘God hates Scotland, where they marry fag beasts’ followed by ‘God threw down the copter for Scotland pushing fag marriage’ in relation to the Scottish government’s recent approval of legislation for same-sex couples to marry.

Discussion was marred with racism and apparent sectarianism too. Twitter user Ross R Russell posted ‘police helicopter crashed hopefully into a Fenian pub or one full of black c***s or even better pub full of police’ (sic). His account was later seemingly removed, following reports of an ‘inappropriate tweet’ being investigated.

Katie Hopkins also sparked controversy for posting ‘Life expectancy in Scotland based 07/08 birth is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement.’ While not directly related to the Clutha crash, she was blasted by social networkers for her insensitivity towards Scotland given the circumstances. A petition to ban her from various television programmes on which she often appears had reached over 3,500 signatures as this article was published.

BNP chairman Nick Griffin added ‘Strange, sad quirk of fate that Glasgow helicopter tragedy happened on St. Andrew’s Day’ despite the fact that the incident took place the previous night.

Glasgow Taxis have offered free journeys to hospitals if those affected are struggling for transport to visit loved ones, while police have set up a telephone number for those concerned. Dial 0800 092 0410.

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