A youth group from the Portadown area were staying in a Glasgow hotel just a matter of yards from where a police helicopter crashed on Friday night, killing nine people.
Gordon Woolsey, ethnic youth inclusion worker with Oasis Youth Projectwalked to the scene of the horrific accident at the The Clutha within 10 minutes of it happening.
Gordon arrived before the majority of media and watched as emergency services’ rescue operation swung into action.
“We were just back into the hotel when I got a call from another of our leaders at home, Andrew McCreery, who had heard on the radio what had happened,” explained Gordon. “We were literally 500 metres from the pub and myself and another leader walked to the scene. We were there before the media but the police would not let us get any further. It was dark but we could see part of the helicopter coming out of the roof. “The sheer number of police and Fire Brigade, I have never seen as many in my life before. Crowds started to gather and more media arrived, including the Sky News cameras.
“We quickly made our parents at home aware that all the children in our group were safe.”
Gordon, who signed his name in a book of condolence in Glasgow the following day, was struck by the atmosphere that took over the city on the Saturday, when Scotland should have been celebrating St Andrew’s Day. He continued, “All the St Andrew’s celebrations were cancelled on the Saturday and there was a strange atmosphere, you knew something was up. The crash was all that was being talked about.”
The group’s residential was funded as part of the SELB Inclusion Unit. Young people from six different nationalities travelled.