The Clutha Tragedy: Ambulance was at pub one minute after 999 call

AN ambulance reached the Clutha Vaults within a minute of the first 999 call, it has been revealed.

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Emergency crews were quickly on the scene after the police helicopter landed on the Clutha
Emergency crews were quickly on the scene after the police helicopter landed on the Clutha

Ten crews of paramedics and two special operations response teams were among the army of emergency workers who worked through the night after a helicopter crashed through the roof of the busy pub.

Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) chiefs said they responded extremely quickly to the call for help - not least because of how prepared they are for an emergency on Friday evenings, one of their busiest times of the week.

Gary Hardacre is the SAS's head of risk and resiliance, the officer whose job it is to plan for - and lead - major rescue operations.

He stressed that his crews had somehow managed to continue to do their normal jobs on Friday night across Scotland, despite devoting such huge resources to the Clutha.

Mr Hardacre said: "I would like to pay tribute to all the SAS staff who worked extremely hard in support of the wider operation.

"Business as usual continued. We still had to maintain that levels of service, in fact, we did. The SAS has immense pride in every single member of staff we had working for us to do so."

It has emerged some of his teams knew the pilot and crew of the stricken copter but continued their work as normal.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon personally thanked Scottish Ambulance Service workers for their efforts during the disaster - and for continuing to provide a normal level of 999 service for everybody else in Glasgow.

She said: "We have to remember the flying community, which spans air ambulance and police, is a very small community.

"So the personal impact on some of these people has been quite profound over the last couple of days.

"Those who fly our air ambulances, those who service in our emergency medical retrieval team will have known the pilot involved and the crew. That makes it all the more difficult."

The three who died in the helicopter - civilian pilot David Traill and police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis - were well known in emergency service circles.

Ms Nelis's brother-in-law was one of the first firefighters on the scene.

Mr Sturgeon continued: "I can only imagine the grief and anguish those who lost a loved one are suffering. I hope that they can take some comfort in the knowledge that more victims have now been recovered.

"The hard work and determination of our emergency services, who have been working around the clock on the recovery operation, has been extraordinary.

"I would like to say my own thanks and mark my own admiration for all the continued professionalism of the staff who worked over the weekend to treat and care for those injured in this tragedy. They have shown great heroism."

Paramedics at Springburn station are continuing to work as usual.

Mr Hardacre said: "Mechanisms had been put in place to support staff, stressing crews had been rotated as much as possible so nobody was overexposed to the Clutha tragedy.

He said: "Not only do we need to think about their welfare of patients, we do take the welfare of our staff very seriously. We make sure we have strong mechanisms in place to rotate shift patterns within the staff as to make sure our staff."

Mr Hardacre's boss, Pauline Howie, SAS chief executive, added: "The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish Ambulance are with those affected by this tragic incident, some of whom are friends and colleagues.

"I would like to thank all of our teams who responded immediately, working throughout the night to treat and care for the injured alongside colleagues in the police and fire services.

"As always, our staff displayed the highest standards of professionalism and a total focus on saving lives when faced with an incredibly challenging situation.

"I would also like to thank the many people who have sent messages of support throughout the weekend."

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