The lone pilot who died this morning when his helicopter he was flying crashed into a crane in London has been named as Captain Pete Barnes. He was fifty-years-old and – according to The Daily Telegraph – had over 25 years of flying experience, with countless TV, film and sporting credits to his name escorting aerial film crews. He’d apparently asked for permission to land at the nearby London Heliport in Battersea because of bad weather.
Another person died at the scene and twelve more are being treated in hospital after the incident this morning which saw the chopper hit a crane on top of a building site and smash to the floor on Wandsworth Road, and then explode.
"I was working, maybe 100 meters from the building. We heard a big bang at about half eight this morning, looked up, saw the helicopter in the sky, crashing out of control, coming down; went behind a block of flats then we just small a big flame-ball, smoke, everything - there was an engine next to a car that was on fire. Everything was just manic; flames, fire, everything."
Metropolitan Police Commander, Neil Basu said it was miraculous the crash wasn’t much worse. A spokesperson for Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "very saddened to learn of the fatalities and injuries" and later both he & Mayor of London Boris Johnson thanked the emergency services for their rapid and professional response’
The crash happened close to a main railway line during this morning’s rush hour, caused a lot of disruption. But all roads around the crash site and Vauxhall tube station have now reopened.
Written and presented by Marverine Cole