THE owner of the Clutha bar in Glasgow, where ten people died after a police helicopter crashed onto it 15 months ago, hopes to reopen it by May.
The bar has been shut and left largely untouched since the disaster on the night of 29 November, 2013. But building work is now under way.
I could take a long, long time to figure out what to do with it.Owner Alan Crossan
The adjoining Victoria Bar is to be refurbished, while the beer garden at the back of the Clutha will be covered over.
Owner Alan Crossan has not yet decided what to do with the area of the building where the helicopter crashed.
He said: “It’s difficult. It’s taken me a year and a bit to even get to this stage. Maybe in six months, maybe in a year, I’ll know better what to do with this. Obviously, when we get people back in and the music starts again, we’ll get a better idea of what we can do.
“The name will stay. The Clutha, before the accident, was pretty famous anyway, so the name will always stay.
“The Clutha means the Clyde and we’re right next door to the Clyde, so we’ll retain that.”
He added: “Obviously in its day it was a pub that was really happy and it was always a good pub, there were never any issues in it, so it’s got a feeling now where it’s strange. I could take a long, long time to figure out what to do with it.”
The bar area of the Clutha took the main impact of the crash, while people in the area where a band was playing were initially unaware that a helicopter had crashed into the building.
Inside the Clutha today, the scene looks largely as it did on the night of the disaster, when customers fled the building in panic.
A glass stands on the bar counter with change next to it, while an unfinished drink is on a crate on the stage.
Scattered flyers lie on the floor near the stage, while thick dust covers surfaces.
An initial report said the aircraft had suffered engine failure.
The final conclusions of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are expected to be released later this year.
Dougie Naismith told how was in the bar when the helicopter crashed. He had been drinking with a friend, Eddie Waltham, in another pub but left in search of live music.
Mr Naismith, who was a firefighter before he retired, had experience of being in unsafe buildings, but on that night he was scared. Mr Naismith broke his shoulder and suffered injuries to his neck in the Clutha as well as suffering psychological trauma.
But he said: “I’m one of the very, very lucky ones – no-one’s got to tell me that.”
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