Bin lorry crash: Edinburgh woman amongst victims

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ONE of the victims when a bin lorry careered out of control through a city centre was an Edinburgh woman.


Gillian Ewing

Gillian Ewing

Wedding planner Gillian Ewing, 52, died after the council vehicle drove through a street full of shoppers in Glasgow.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said Ms Ewing lived in Famagusta, Cyprus, and was backing visiting family for Christmas.

She added: “It’s a terrible shame. I’m really quite shocked. I assume she was back for Christmas. It’s just really tragic.”

Dumbarton family Jack Sweeney, his wife Lorraine, and granddaughter Erin McQuade, understood to be in her teens, have also been named as victims, along with Stephenie Tait, 29, Jacqueline Morton, 51, from Glasgow.

The flag at City Chambers. Picture: Comp

The flag at City Chambers. Picture: Comp

A special prayer service has been held for the victims at the nearby St George’s Tron Parish Church.

The Rev Stuart Smith, moderator of Glasgow Presbytery of the Church of Scotland, said the circumstances of the crash were “more sudden and shocking than we could have imagined possible if it wasn’t for the evidence right here in front of us”.

The service was attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.

Ahead of the service Ms Sturgeon said that Glasgow was waking with a “broken heart” but praised the city’s resilience, adding: “This city will pull together to support those who have been affected, not just in the days ahead but in the weeks and months to come.”

The flag at the Assemlby Rooms

The flag at the Assemlby Rooms

It is thought the driver might have fallen ill at the wheel as he travelled up Queen Street and his vehicle struck a pedestrian outside the Gallery of Modern Art.

The truck continued, hitting several other people and coming to a halt only when it crashed into the side of Millennium Hotel in George Square.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said there were two other crew members on the lorry at the time of the crash, but the condition of the two men was not known.

A large cordon remains in place at the square and hundreds of floral tributes have been placed at the scene.

Emergency services at work in Glasgow. Picture: PA

Emergency services at work in Glasgow. Picture: PA

A fleet of private ambulances carrying the dead left the area earlier this morning

The Christmas lights have been switched off in George Square and flags on public buildings in the city are flying at half-mast.

Edinburgh City Council buildings are flying flags at half-mast as a mark of respect.

Three other females were also killed and 10 people were injured, six of whom remain in hospitals around the city.

Some pedestrians were able to dive out of the way of the lorry but others were struck without even realising what was happening.

One mother with two children and a pram fainted after she leapt out of the lorry’s path with only seconds to spare.

The christmas lights have been switched off. Picture: Getty

The christmas lights have been switched off. Picture: Getty

The truck, estimated to be travelling at 40mph, finally crossed the road near Queen Street station before crashing into the Millennium Hotel. It is thought the lorry driver may have suffered a heart attack or a seizure. Some witnesses reported seeing him slumped over the wheel.

Eyewitness Moire McClintock, 18, an Edinburgh University student, said she saw the lorry “screaming up the road at a crazy speed”.

It is understood the driver had two other people in the cab with him. Their account will now form a crucial part of what is likely to be a lengthy investigation.

The eight injured in the crash – including the driver – are receiving treatment at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Southern General and the Western Infirmary.

A fleet of private ambulances with police outriders left the crash site early this morning.

A large cordon remains in place and dozens of floral tributes have been placed at the scene.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said flags would fly at half-mast on government buildings today out of respect.

The carnage unfolded only half a mile from last year’s Clutha Helicopter disaster in which ten people died. Chief Inspector Mark Sutherland, from Police Scotland, said: “It’s important that we take all the necessary steps to [complete the investigation] as quickly as we can so that we get the answers for the families and get their loved ones back to them as quick as we can.”

Police are appealing to members of the public who have photographs, videos or any type of mobile footage of the incident to send it to a dedicated email address:

Officers have also confirmed that the tragedy, which unfolded at 2.30pm yesterday, was “not a terrorism-related incident”.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson described the road crash as “a terrible tragedy”, while Glasgow Archbishop Philip Tartaglia said his “heart broke” for those caught up in the incident.

Mr Matheson said: “This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, particularly the families of those who have lost their lives.”

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “I was shocked and horrified to hear the news of this incident. My heart breaks for all those who have been directly caught up in it as they go about their business just a few days before Christmas in the centre of Glasgow. The circumstances could hardly be more tragic. I would ask any person of faith to pray for those who have died and their relatives and those who have been injured.”

Former Lord Provost of Glasgow Michael Kelly said: “It is unbelievable that such a wonderful year for Glasgow generally was bookended by tragedies.

“Just over 12 months after the Clutha the city is hit with this same kind of public disaster which is going to throw a blanket of grief over the city.”

Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson has written to his counterpart in Glasgow.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Councillor Donald Wilson, responds to the tragic events in Glasgow on Monday.

“Like most people across Scotland, I was shocked to learn of the tragic events in Glasgow yesterday, he added.

“On behalf of the people of Edinburgh, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the people of Glasgow and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those involved.

“I have written to the RT Hon Lord Provost Sadie Docherty to offer our condolences and our support at this time.

“Flags at Council buildings will fly at half mast on 23rd December.”

Political leaders in Scotland and at Westminster expressed their shock and paid tribute to the emergency services.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m being kept fully briefed on the major incident in Glasgow. My thoughts are with the families of those involved and the emergency services.”

Sturgeon in tribute to victims

FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon led tributes to victims of the accident.

She said: “My thoughts are with everyone involved in this tragic incident, and especially with the friends and families of the six people who lost their lives in what is another sad day for Glasgow and Scotland.

“As ever, Scotland’s emergency services have responded in a swift and professional manner.”

Kirk Moderator John Chalmers said: “The news from the city centre of Glasgow just a few days before Christmas is simply devastating. For the second year in a row, Glaswegians will have to dig deep into their reserves of compassion and sympathy as they support the families of those who have been killed and injured today.”

Tennis star Andy Murray tweeted: “Very very sad. Thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected.”

Memories of tragedy

the tragedy in George Square bought back memories of an accident more than 45 yars ago in nearby Sauchiehall Street.

In October 1968, Margaret Fisher, 50, was killed and 27 others were injured when a runaway lorry hurtled down a steep hill before smashing through the front of Lyons store.

The site of the bin lorry carnage is also just half a mile from the Clutha Vaults where ten people died just over a year ago when a police helicopter plunged through the pub roof.

And it is almost 44 years since the Ibrox disaster on January 2, 1971, when 66 fans died and 200 were injured in a horrific crush as people left the stadium.

Flowers were left at the scene. Picture: PA

Flowers were left at the scene. Picture: PA

Emergency services at the scene where a bin lorry lost control. Picture: Hemedia

Emergency services at the scene where a bin lorry lost control. Picture: Hemedia