Clutha Bar Reopens With Victims Tribute

Tributes were paid to the 10 victims of the Clutha helicopter tragedy as the Glasgow bar re-opened 20 months after a police helicopter crashed through its roof.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined relatives of the dead, survivors and members of the emergency services at the venue.

She said: "It's a night of mixed emotions. On the one hand it is fantastic to see this great Glasgow institution, The Clutha pub, open its doors to customers again.

"But on the other hand we will never forget what happened here that night.

"People lost their lives in that tragic accident, people sustained injuries, families had their lives changed forever, so it's a night of celebrating the fact that this pub is moving on into the future, but also remembering the people who lost their lives here.

"When I was a student in Glasgow the three pubs in this triangle - The Scotia, The Clutha and The Victoria - tended to be visited on a bit of a circuit.

"The Clutha was somewhere that I remember for the atmosphere, the music, the camaraderie.

"It's not the same now. I think the owners have done a fantastic job in rebuilding it and getting it reopened, but it will never ever be quite the same.

"But to have it open, particularly for the families affected to have somewhere to come and remember their loved ones, is a really important development.''

More than 100 people were in the bar on the night of Friday, November 29 2013, when the accident took place.

All three people who were in the helicopter, pilot David Traill, who was attached to Police Scotland's air support unit, and police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nellis were killed when the Eurocopter EC 135 crashed into the building.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins and Samuel McGhee. Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but later died in hospital.

The interior of the old bar where the helicopter crashed remains sealed off, but a new bar has been erected in a former smoking area. Outside the pub, a mural depicts famous customers and those with links to the area.

An initial report said the aircraft suffered engine failure. The final conclusions of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are expected to be released imminently.

Ms Sturgeon added: "We're all very aware of the fact that the families who lost loved ones in here that night are still waiting for answers on what went wrong.

"I very much hope that in the not too distant future that they will have those answers, and that that investigation is now entering its final stages.

"Hopefully before too long the families will have the answers that they are looking for and the answers that they deserve.''

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