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Tributes paid to helicopter crash dead, including poet with Donegal connections

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Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 1, 2013. See PA story ACCIDENT Helicopter. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING DATE Emergency services remove wreckage as work to recover bodies from the Clutha Vaults pub in Stockwell Street close to Glasgow city centre continues, following the deaths of at least eight people - including the civilian pilot and two police officers of a police helicopter that crashed into the building on Friday evening. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 1, 2013. See PA story ACCIDENT Helicopter. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

One of the missing men feared dead in the Glasgow helicopter tragedy came from a well known Donegal family and was a regular visitor to the county.

Police Scotland confirmed the three helicopter crew were among the eight dead. They were pilot David Traill, 51, and Police Constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and 43-year-old Tony Collins.

Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area, has been named as among five people who died in The Clutha bar but the others have not yet been officially named.

One of those named locally as being among the deceased is Glasgow poet John McGarrigle (59) who was said to be sitting in his usual spot in the Clutha bar when the helicopter plunged through the roof.

His son John raced to the scene after hearing of the crash and told reporters in Glasgow that when he saw the position of the helicopter, he knew immediately that his father was almost certainly lying under it as he sat in the same spot every night.

Tributes have been paid to Mr McGarrigle, who is described by friends on social media sites as a poet, writer and artist.

On the facebook page of Esperanza, the ska band that was playing in the bar when the tragedy happened, one poster from Letterkenny wrote: “RIP John McGarrigle from Letterkenny Co Donegal.”

Others refer to his family originally hailing from Letterkenny.

The Clutha bar’s facebook page also contained many tributes to Mr McGarrigle and others who died in the accident.

Meanwhile, the First and Deputy First Ministers have expressed their sadness following the helicopter crash in Glasgow.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I want to express my sorrow and sympathies to all those bereaved and injured in this tragic incident.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those who have lost their lives and I hope those injured have a full and speedy recovery.”

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of this devastating crash and my prayers and thoughts are with the people of Scotland today.

“I want to offer my condolences to those who lost a loved one in the incident and to those who suffered injuries, I wish a fast and full recovery.”

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Rob Craig news of the helicopter crash “really shocked me and my thoughts today are with the people of Glasgow and Scotland”.

He said: “In the midst of this tragedy the selfless courage of those who rushed to help with no thought for their own safety is an example to us all.

“I would assure the families and friends of those who have died, the people who are injured and the rescue services of my sincere prayers and those of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.”

Meanwhile the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, also extended his “deepest sympathy to everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow”.

“My thoughts are also with the emergency and ambulance services who are still working to free those who remain trapped in the building, in difficult conditions,” he said.

“At this stage, we have no reports of any Irish citizens being involved, but our Consulate General in Edinburgh is working with the local authorities and offering any assistance they can provide.

 

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