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London helicopter crash - live updates
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- Helicopter crashes in central London
- Believed to have hit a crane near Thames
- Cartwheeled before crashing
- Two people confirmed dead
Captain Philip Amadeus, managing director of RotorMotion, said: "Our main priority now is for the family of the pilot and we extend our greatest sympathy to the friends and relatives of those who have died and been injured."
Pete Barnes, who has piloted helicopters in action scenes in movies Die Another Day, Tomb Raider II and Saving Private Ryan, worked for flight operator RotorMotion
Two office buildings, 5 cars & 2 motorbikes were damaged by debris from helicopter crash, according to London Fire Brigade.
The pilot who died today after the helicopter he was flying crashed in London has been named by sources as Pete Barnes.— @itn 16 January 2013
Under aviation rules, specially designed bright red warning lights must be attached to tall structures on flight paths or near aerodromes.
There is no suggestion that the crane struck by the helicopter was not properly illuminated. But the allegation raises a wider safety issue, especially in London and other cities where there are large numbers of high buildings and cranes.
Met Police Commander Neil Basu said: "It was something of a miracle that this was not many, many times worse."
It is understood that there were lights in place on top of the crane, which were checked twice a day and had been checked yesterday. There had been confusion over whether the lights had been functioning correctly, but it looks increasingly likely that they were obscured by the thick mist shrouding the tower.
At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron said the rules for helicopter flights over central London would need to be carefully looked at following this morning's fatal crash.
The pilot of the helicopter which crashed in central London had requested to divert and land at London Heliport at Battersea due to bad weather, a spokesman for the owners of the heliport said.
He said: "The crane operator was about to go up. The scaffolders evacuated to here told me there isn't a crane big enough in the UK to get the wreckage down."
Mr Walker added: "I ran down with a guy to check the car. No driver but we couldn't get close enough to see the back. I took a guy down to check the car was empty but had to pull back from fire and explosions. That car was later gutted by the fire. There were secondary explosions going on so we had to get back. It was smokey as hell too."
Witness Nic Walker said the helicopter crashed on to the street outside his house, setting a car on fire. He said: I pulled on some clothes and ran out to help. There were two people injured on my side of the fire. I think one was a motorcyclist. One seemed to have an eye or brow injury."
The two people killed in the crash were the pilot and someone on the ground, emergency services said.
Police boats patrol the River Thames in front of the damaged crane on top of St Georges Tower, close to the scene where a helicopter crashed in central London.
The scene after a helicopter crashed into a construction crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London.
The helicopter did not fly from Gatwick Airport, despite earlier reports to the contrary, according to a spokesman for the airport.
London Fire Brigade said in a statement: "Fifty-seven firefighters and officers are also attending a crane which has been left in a precarious position at St George's Wharf as a result of the helicopter crash. Four fire engines and two fire rescue units are in attendance."
Our fire boat is doing precautionary checks of the river Thames in relation to #helicopter crash.— @LondonFire 16 January 2013
The damaged crane hangs limply alongside St. George's Tower. Earlier this morning, the top of the crane and the building were blanketed in thick fog.
We are aware of 11 casualties: 2 people confirmed dead, 4 taken to hospital (1 critical), 5 treated at scene #LondonHelicopter #Vauxhall— @metpoliceuk 16 January 2013
Defence expert Paul Beaver said: "We have rules and there are procedures in place for helicopter flight. The River Thames is a safe place to fly through because aircraft can land in the water. It's much more challenging in reduced visibility. It's very much up to the pilot to fly the right route and do the right things."
Still no update about Vauxhall station reopening. A conference is being held and I'll bring you an update as soon as I have it.— @SW_Trains 16 January 2013
In the image below you can see part of the crane that was sheared off in the crash, lying on the road.
Thank you to everyone for RTs & bearing with us this morning. At the moment we have no estimate for the re-opening of Vauxhall Rail Station— @SW_Trains 16 January 2013
#Waterloo - Trains may be delayed by up to 20 minutes until further notice— @SW_Trains 16 January 2013
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has confirmed that there were two deaths, one person critically injured and a number of others with less serious injuries.
Eyewitness and mother-of-five Sharon Moore, who lives on the Wyvil Estate, said she saw the aircraft slice through the crane ''as if it was a piece of paper''.
Ms Moore, 36, who was with her nine-year-old daughter Tiah, described hearing four bangs and watching two cars explode.
She said: ''My daughter was so traumatised, it was so shocking. It sounded like a massive explosion, like something whining in the sky and then it just went bang.
''You couldn't see a lot at first because of the fog. The helicopter did not seem to know which way to turn and then it just dropped, it sliced, screeching into the metal.
''It sliced it as if it was a piece of paper. It just ripped apart.''
She went on: ''I called the police and they got there in seconds. We could then see them trying to pull people out of the cars.''
RT @metpoliceuk: We are aware of 11 casualties: 2 people confirmed dead, 4 taken to hospital (1 critical), 5 treated at scene #LondonHelicopter #Vauxhall— @Cbp76 16 January 2013
If you'd like to read a more traditional story rather than the live blog, you can do so here.
RT @lucymanning: Met police commissioner believes helicopter was diverting to Battersea rather than travelling there #helicopter— @SOA3XFive 16 January 2013
Two people confirmed dead at scene. Two have been taken to south London hospital - condition awaits. #LondonHelicopter #Vauxhall #Helicopter— @metpoliceuk 16 January 2013
RT @smithsky1979: What's left of the crane after the helicopter hit it. http://t.co/KcQf5HhB— @outoflex 16 January 2013
Wow. Extraordinary RT @smithsky1979: #Helicopter crash in Vauxhall - view from my flat http://t.co/O2ZzlnHV— @WilliamsJon 16 January 2013
Helicopter clipped crane on top of St George's Tower - and crashed into road on top of traffic - one person rescued from burning car, say fire brigade
Eyewitnesses say tower block was shrouded in fog; building workers ran for their lives as helicopter crashed into crane on the roof of the tower and debris fell everywhere....
Police say no evidence this was a terrorist attack....
RT @markbikeslondon: Vauxhall Bridge now closed to all traffic (including pedestrians and cyclists) as well as the gyratory. Avoid area if you can.— @BBCTomEdwards 16 January 2013
Helicopter crashed into crane at the top of a tower block where construction work was taking place
Travel update: Vauxhall tube station closed; overground trains running through station but not stopping
Burning wreckage and aviation fuel covered the road as eyewitnesses reported seeing cars on fire and hearing people screaming.
Re Wandsworth Rd: It is too early to confirm any casualties. We will confirm further details on the incident as soon as possible.— @metpoliceuk 16 January 2013
RT @metpoliceuk: Police alerted at approx 8am re an incident at Wandsworth Rd SW8. At this early stage it appears a helicopter was in collision with a crane— @KateColebrook 16 January 2013
The helicopter that crashed today in London apparently hit a crane on top of a building, Scotland Yard said.
“@QuinMurray: Helicopter just hit a crane and crashed a few metres in front of me in vauxhall. Completely shaken. http://t.co/CyalZHuL”.— @Pouchatron 16 January 2013
RT @helenlewis: Shocking pic from Vauxhall RT @nic0: The remains of the helicopter fuel. It ditched into the building on the left. http://t.co/N4YapsSv— @StuartMBarratt 16 January 2013
Accident happened around 8am this morning.
Sources say one person was on board the helicopter when it crashed.
Fire and rescue services said they were taking "lots of emergency calls" as eyewitnesses described seeing grey smoke towering into the sky, close to Battersea Bridge, in Vauxhall.
A spokesman for London Fire Brigade was unable to give details but said: "We are taking lots of emergency calls at the moment".
RT @craiglet: Helicopter just hit our building in vauxhall http://t.co/HbktDNkp— @DJKSaunders 16 January 2013
Emergency services were called to the scene, near the River Thames at Vauxhall, after reports that the aircraft had hit a crane and cartwheeled before bursting into flames.
A plume of smoke billowed into the sky above the area this morning.
A helicopter crashed in central London today.