Aviation News

January 16, 2013

Two Killed As Helicopter Hits Tower Crane In Central London

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Written by: BNO News
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A construction crane at St. George Wharf Tower stands crippled after being hit by a helicopter in London. (Photo by David Holt via wikimedia, CC-BY-SA)

Two people were confirmed dead after a helicopter crashed in London on Wednesday, officials said.

The Agusta AW109 helicopter (G-CRST), which was traveling from Redhill in Surrey to Elstree in Hertfordshire, crashed into a crane on top of the St. George Wharf Tower, located at a residential block in central London. The 607-foot (185-meter) building is still under construction and is expected to be finished later in the year. The St George Wharf is located in the London Borough of Lambeth, just south of the River Thames beside Vauxhall Bridge.

The aircraft came crashing down into Wandsworth Road and struck a number vehicles, triggering a large fire which caught on nearby buildings as well. Two people were confirmed dead while at least nine others were also injured.

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe confirmed the number of deaths, stating that one of the two was the pilot, while the second’s identity remained unconfirmed. Speaking to the London Assembly, he also said no passengers were believed to be onboard the aircraft.

Local media outlets identified the pilot as Pete Barnes, although his name was not officially disclosed. Previously, Metropolitan Police Commander Neil Basu said it was “a miracle” that the number of victims in the accident was not larger.

According to an official from the London Heliport Battersea, prior to the crash, the pilot of the aircraft had requested a divert and land, as bad weather was affecting the flight. At the time of the crash, weather reports said low clouds were present but not thick fog.

Meanwhile, England’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch launched investigations into the accident, which could take several months.

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