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Clutha bar reopens with tribute to helicopter crash victims

People in the Clutha Bar, Glasgow, as it reopens after a police helicopter crash in 2013. Photo: Press Association

The 10 victims of the Clutha helicopter tragedy were remembered tonight as the Glasgow bar reopened 20 months on 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.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses patrons in the Clutha Bar. Credit: Press Association

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.

– First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon dances in the Clutha Bar, Glasgow. Credit: Press Association

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.

Members of the emergency services working on the roof of the Clutha Bar in Glasgow in 2013. Credit: Press Association
The Clutha Bar today which has been redesigned with a mural featuring artists and notables who drank in the pub. Credit: Press Association.

It's an emotional day for everybody. We saw a lot of people with tears in their eyes. It's still unbelievable what happened, a helicopter hit a pub full of people. It just doesn't make any sense at all.

It's something that we're just going to have to live with and try and understand, but I'm sure that will take a long time. You can rebuild a pub but you can't do that with anyone that we have lost."

– Clutha owner Alan Crossan