Bar manager says Clutha wall ‘saved his life’ during crash

Saverio Petri was working behind the bar when a helicopter crashed through the roof.

In a storage room in the Clutha bar, Saverio Petri points to a part of the wall which saved his life.

The bar manager was on duty in the Glasgow bar on November 29, 2013. He had just served a customer and said he would be back with them in a minute when suddenly a police helicopter crashed through the roof.

It was a tragedy which devastated the city and claimed the lives of three crew members and seven customers who were in the pub.

A further 31 people were injured.

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“I was directly under the point of impact and I was saved by this wall and the construction of the building,” Saverio explains.

“The building is 200 years old, it originally had a two storey tenement on top of it which was then taken down and a four storey tenement erected, so obviously the foundations were reinforced and this is the central column.”

The central column, which now stands in the storage room in the rebuilt pub, had saved Saverio’s life.

“It was completely surreal, completely surreal. Nobody expects to go out to listen to music and get hit by a helicopter. I just thought the roof had collapsed,” he says.

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In the aftermath of the crash, the combination of dust and debris made it hard to see in the pub. Emergency lights were on but Saverino says he couldn’t see his own hand in front of his face.

“The people who were still in the pub were struggling to breathe. People were choking and really struggling,” he recalls.

“I went across the road to the Scotia and grabbed a case of water and I was here throwing bottles of water to people when the fire brigade arrived.”

Saverio recalls how people sprang into action following the devastating crash.

“There was people forming human chains, there was people coming into the pub to help as opposed to people running away from the pub.

“There was people who weren’t even in the pub coming in to help.”

Six years on from the tragedy, a Fatal Accident Inquiry found that pilot error was to blame for the crash.

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It has taken Saverino years to return to the pub following the crash, but he says he is “glad to be back”.

“The atmosphere of the Clutha, the family spirit of the Clutha still exists, if anything it’s probably greater now than it ever was.”


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