Eight people have died after a police helicopter crashed into the roof of a crowded pub in the centre of Glasgow.

The three occupants of the helicopter - two police officers and a civilian pilot - were among the dead, Police Scotland said.

Fourteen people remain in Glasgow hospitals.

Witnesses said the helicopter came down "like a stone" from the sky and hit the roof of The Clutha pub at 10.25pm yesterday.

Members of the public formed a human chain to help remove those inside the pub in Stockwell Street.

More than 30 people were taken to hospitals across the city.

The injured were taken to Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Western Infirmary.

The aircraft involved was a Eurocopter EC135 T2 and had two police officers and a civilian pilot on board.

An inquiry involving the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the emergency services is under way.

A large section of the city centre is cordoned off with all roads leading to the junction of Clyde Street, Stockwell Street, Bridgegate and Victoria Bridge closed.

Police have set up a telephone number for members of the public concerned about relatives who may have been involved in the crash. It is 08000 920 410.

First Minister Alex Salmond described today, St Andrew's Day, as a "black day for Glasgow and for Scotland".

He visited the multi-agency command centre in Glasgow with Sir Stephen, other emergency services and Scotland's Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill.

The First Minister praised the speed of the emergency response.
"We've also heard of the instinctive courage of ordinary Glaswegians going to assist their fellow citizens in extremity," he said.

"This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it's also St Andrew's Day, and it's a day we can take pride and courage in how we respond to adversity and tragedy.

"That response from our emergency services and from ordinary citizens has been exemplary.

"As First Minister, it's a day we can take great pride in how we've responded to this extraordinary tragedy."

Scottish flags will fly at half-mast this weekend outside Scottish Government and Historic Scotland buildings, he said.

Among those helping with the rescue last night was Labour frontbencher Jim Murphy who saw a "pile of people clambering out" of the bar as he was driving past.

"I jumped out and tried to help," he said.

"There were people with injuries. Bad gashes to the head. Some were unconscious. I don't know how many.

"The helicopter was inside the pub. It's a mess. I could only get a yard or two inside. I helped carry people out.

"My human instinct kicked in. I didn't like what I was seeing but I did what everyone else was doing and got stuck in. I feel like I'm in shock now. It's a horrible scene."

People formed a human chain to help pass unconscious people out of the pub so that "inch by inch, we could get the people out", Mr Murphy said.

Grace MacLean, inside the pub at the time of the crash, said it was busy with people listening to a ska band.

"We were all just having a nice time and then there was like a whoosh noise. There was no bang, there was no explosion. And then there was some smoke, what seemed like smoke," she told BBC News.

"The band were laughing and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down.

"They carried on playing and then it started to come down more and someone started screaming and then the whole pub just filled with dust. You couldn't see anything, you couldn't breathe."

Gordon Smart, editor of The Sun's Scottish edition, said he saw the helicopter come down from a multistorey car park around 250 yards away.

"It was just such a surreal moment. It looked like it was dropping from a great height at a great speed," he told Sky News.

"There was no fireball and I did not hear an explosion. It fell like a stone. The engine seemed to be spluttering."