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- Two dead after helicopter crashes into crane on top of a tower block
- Newport MP, Paul Flynn 100 yards away from crash
- Aircraft explodes into flames before crashing into a street during rush hour
- Burning wreckage and aviation fuel covered the road
The pilot who died today after the helicopter he was flying crashed in London was named by sources as Pete Barnes.
He added: "The cab went backwards and started going down towards the floor, and the helicopter was pouring smoke and went on about a mile... it came down, a great fireball went up - lots of smoke. When I went over there, I spoke to the crane driver who was on his way up there. He was quite shaken but lucky because he's not dead. (He said) 'I'm gonna go and do the lottery'."
He said: "We looked up and a helicopter came out of the mist. It seemed like it was going to miss the thing but then the rotors seemed to hit it. It then dipped a bit, then smashed right into the crane and cut the cab in half."
A construction worker told the BBC he spoke to the crane driver whose crane was hit by the helicopter. The man was on his way to his crane cab when the accident happened and was left "shaken" by his lucky escape.
LATEST: 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. PA
An Agusta Westland 109 (AW109) similar to the helicopter that crashed in central London today. (AugustaWestland/PA)
BREAKING: 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.
Met Police commander Neil Basu confirmed there were two dead and nine wounded. One of the dead was the pilot, the other was in the proximity of where the aircraft came down.
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." PA
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." PA
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." PA
RT @LondonFire Pic from the scene of the #helicopter crash in #vauxhall. We put the fire out within 20mins. http://t.co/6mBQAH26— @allaboutclait 16 January 2013
Helicopter debris near St George's Wharf tower building
Helicopter debris near St George's Wharf tower building
RT @LondonFire: We rescued a man from a burning car at the scene of the helicopter crash. Two people have been taken to hospital by @Ldn_Ambulance— @awshep 16 January 2013
Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said there were 11 casualties, with two dead, one person critically ill, and others "less seriously injured".
@Oog: Here's a very clear picture of the crane at #vauxhall, taken by a friend on facebook (@steph_lee, was Lik there) http://t.co/MgYk450t"— @OneCompton 16 January 2013
The statement from the Metropolitan Police said two people have been confirmed dead at the scene. They said: "The two have been taken to a south London hospital. We await a condition update."
They added the crane which the helicopter crashed into was in a "precarious position" and that officers were being evacuated from the scene of the crash.
Paul Ferguson, who was working in an office near the incident, told BBC News: "There was a flash and the helicopter plunged to the ground. It exploded and you can imagine the smoke coming out of it. It was probably heading from the nearby heliport. It may be that on this misty morning the lights on nearby St George's Tower weren't on and it moved and clipped the edge of the crane and lost control."
Newport West MP, Paul Flynn was only 100 yards away from the road where a helicopter crashed this morning in London.
Mr Flynn who has a home in Vauxhall, has said the site of the crash is his normal route into work.
He lives 100 yards away from Wandsworth Road, where a helicopter hit a crane and crashed into the ground this morning.
Mr Flynn told the Argus that at 8am he heard a "louder than normal" aircraft noise, a "great bump" that sounded like an explosion, then silence.
He later left by car to go to the House of Commons at 8.30am, but took a different route in because of the traffic.
"We haven't heard any fatalities. I would have though it's almost certainly the mist," said the MP.
"You can't see the top of the block. It's almost certainly the reason for the crash at that level. It's a very tall building."
Also looks genuine RT @nic0: The remains of the helicopter fuel. It ditched into the building on the left. http://t.co/sWAC57eC— @JonathanHaynes 16 January 2013
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Pic posted on Twitter by @postboxadam
A HELICOPTER has crashed near Battersea Bridge in London after hitting a crane on top of a tower block by the River Thames.
The stricken aircraft cartwheeled to the ground and exploded into flames before crashing into a street during the rush hour.
Burning wreckage and aviation fuel covered the road as eyewitnesses reported seeing cars on fire and hearing people screaming.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that the helicopter had come down. London Fire Brigade said the crash happened near Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth.