SHOPPERS scattered, screaming in terror as the bin lorry careered out of control through the heart of Glasgow.
Witnesses described its haphazard journey of carnage, taking out pedestrians at every turn, as being like some horrific pinball game.
Scarcely able to comprehend what had unfolded before them in a matter of seconds, they gave dreadful accounts of corpses and body parts lying in the truck’s terrible wake.
Melanie Greg watched the vehicle barrel along the pavement until it crashed into the hotel on George Square.
She said: “The bin lorry just lost control. It went along the pavement, knocking everyone like pinballs.
“There was a baby in a buggy, and it just continued knocking people down until it ended up in the building. Quite horrific, very scary.
“The only way it stopped was hitting the building.
“People were trying to run out of the way. But when something was coming out behind them like that, how can they run out of the way? It was such a horrific thing. Just horrible. You don’t expect something to be coming along behind you like that to knock you over.
“There was noise, bangs, screams and everything. It was just horrific.”
Another woman claimed her daughter witnessed the horror and said she saw a woman and her baby in a pram hit by the lorry.
She said: “My daughter saw them both hit and said they were dead. She has given a statement to the police.
“She said it was the most horrifying thing she has ever seen and is completely traumatised.”
Anjan Luthra, 23, from Paisley, who works in the nearby G1 building, said: “I was in Greggs and heard a crashing noise which I thought was something falling from the building site next door.
“When I went out on the street I saw this big lorry going along the pavement, flattening everything in sight.
“There were people running away from it – it was like they were being chased by the lorry.
“It then went right up the pavement and hit the station.
“It was sheer panic everywhere.
“I saw body parts lying on the street and one man with his leg up at his face.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; it was disgusting, I will never forget it.
“There was blood everywhere.
“People were being treated on the street and other people were running to help.”
Sarah Smith, 21, from Glasgow, was working in a tea kiosk in George square when she heard the crash.
At the scene she saw paramedics trying desperately to resuscitate a young pregnant woman.
My thoughts with everyone involved in dreadful #GeorgeSquare incident. If you are in city centre, please let your relatives know you are ok.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 22, 2014
She said: “They were over her doing mouth-to-mouth. Trying to get her round. She was just lying there. She had a clear bump so she was pregnant. It was awful.
“All the security guards and first aid people working in the square had run to the crash to help. It was terrible. People were just crying. It didn’t seem real.”
Steven Elliot, 16, from Glasgow, said: “ I was walking to queen street station and saw two woman badly injured. One was mangled to a lamppost and the other was lying in the ground getting CPR. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m still in shock.”
Brogan Blockley, 17, also from Glasgow said he saw body parts on the the road. The driver of the taxi hit in the collision was slumped against his steering wheel.
Brogan said: “He was still. I think he was dead. He looked like his neck was broken.”
Another witness said the driver was slumped against the window: “His foot must have been stuck on the accelerator. He was coming at speed.
“I saw bodies being dragged under the front of the lorry. They were dragged along the road. There was blood and parts of them on the road.
“I just can’t believe what I saw. It was like a film. It didn’t seem real.”
Elmarghani Hesen, 35, from Glasgow, said: “The refuse truck was out of control. It looked like the driver had passed out at the wheel. He was slumped over and I knew something wasn’t right. “It was doing about 50mph and went through a red light before smashing into a car, mounting the pavement and hitting people outside queen street station. It was awful.
“I saw a woman lying injured on the ground her stomach was burst open and blood was everywhere. There were people trapped underneath the lorry. One man’s head was badly injured and there was a lot of blood. I saw about seven people badly injured. It was very distressing. One of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”
Mark Devine, 20, from, Motherwell, who was walking to Queen Street station, said: “It happened so fast. The truck came hurtling down and shot across the road then ploughed into people. “Six people were badly injured. I saw a woman lying underneath the lorry covered in blood. Everyone was screaming and trying to help.”
Moire McClintock, 18, from Glasgow, a student at Edinburgh University, said: “There was a bin lorry screaming up the road at a crazy speed, and he carried on driving until it hit the hotel.
“It was going up the west side of George Square, it came up from the south side on Queen Street. I thought something had gone wrong with the pedals or the brakes, I could see stuff going everywhere.
“There was just debris and people, it had hit into cars and lampposts and there were bits of the lorry trailing behind.
“I ran to the junction and two people were lying at the junction with St Vincent St. I could see two people on the ground, people were trying to give them attention, and I could see one person on the ground further down Queen Street.
“There was no reaction from them I was pretty sure they were gone straight away. They had shopping bags and they were scattered everywhere.”
David Lyon, 26, said: “I was walking across the road when I saw the garbage truck pretty much plough through people.
“Debris was getting thrown into the air.
“My first instinct was to pull my girlfriend out the way, it just happened so fast.”
Piper Iain Melvin had been doing a photoshoot on the roof of the Alpine Lodge pub and was heading towards the square when the tragedy unfolded in front of him.
He tried calling emergency services but the lines kept cutting out because they were so busy.
He said: “The first thing I heard was a loud hard noise and I could see the bin lorry at Greggs corner. It seemed to be going pretty fast at around 30mph and it was so surreal as it banged into everything in the way.
“It was going by the big wheel in the square where I’m sure there were some people sitting. It went into the private taxi and seemed to be slowed down by that a bit but it still kept moving. It was just gathering debris in front of it until it eventually stopped.”
Jesus this is horrific. Hold fast Glasgow. X
— Dermot O’Leary (@radioleary) December 22, 2014
Thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were involved in the terrible accident in Glasgow today. Awfully sad.
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) December 22, 2014
OMG, just catching up to on the news. Thinking of everyone caught up in today’s terrible accident in Glasgow #GeorgeSquare
— Phillip Schofield (@Schofe) December 22, 2014
Devastating news of accident in Glasgow city-centre this afternoon. Our thoughts prayers with those affected by this terrible tragedy.
— Celtic Football Club (@celticfc) December 22, 2014
The people of Glasgow banded together last night in the aftermath of the crash.
Shoppers rushed to the aid of the wounded and to offer help to emergency services.
And taxi drivers this afternoon offered to provide free transport for those visiting loved ones in hospital.
Former Hibs and Partick Thistle player David Farrell, now a taxi driver, took to twitter to say: “I’m working in town, anyone directly affected by today’s tragedy can’t get home or to hospital, I’ll take them for free…just contact me via Twitter or get one of my Followers to do it and I’ll get there as soon as I can.”
He added: “Horrendous in George Square. People out doing their Christmas shopping. So so sad, such a shame. Could be any one of us…..”
Student Lewis Irvine, 17, who spent the afternoon and much of the evening in George Square, said: “I was out doing my Christmas shopping and was walking across George Square when it happened.
“The lorry went swerving along the road and it went up onto the pavement and went into a load of people. It must have hit at least half a dozen people. Then it went into the Millennium Hotel.
“I could see the driver at the wheel. It looked like he was having a fit or something. There were bodies lying on the ground. It was awful.”
Findlay Mair, 23, was piecing together a photo-shoot in the Glasgow tourist post, said: “We were setting up cameras, about 100 yards away, when we heard a huge bang followed by lots of screaming.
“The screaming just kept going on. Suddenly it was just chaos. Some people were running towards the scene, others were just standing stock still, in shock.”
He added: “I saw one girl who had been hit, lying on the ground. She got up, and blood was pouring from her mouth, then she went down again.
“She was young, of student age. She just screamed, and screamed, and then fell down again. She had terrible injuries.
“A woman motorist got out of her car and just stared at what was unfolding and then started sobbing. She was just yelling ‘Oh God, oh God”.
“There was Christmas shopping littered everywhere, among the bodies and bits of the vehicle. And there was blood everywhere. Time seemed to stand still. It was a terrible, terrible scene.
“It was difficult to take in. One minute the square was a typical Christmas scene, with people enjoying their Christmas shopping and the next moment it was just carnage.
“A lot of people were standing there, trying to understand what was happening. Then everyone was calling emergency services.”
He said: “Emergency services were brilliant. The first paramedics were on the scene within about three minutes, then there was a steady stream of ambulances, fire engines and police cars arriving.”
“The people who were hit had no time to take evasive action. They had no chance. The lorry went straight into them and scattered them like skittles. It was awful.”
- Did you witness the horrific incident in Glasgow city centre today? Give our reporters a call on 0141 309 3251.