PIC: Vostvitzech

Eyewitnesses have been describing the moment a helicopter smashed into a crane and then exploded on the ground in central London, leaving two dead and causing mass panic.

Chris Parker, who works as a commercial manager on the building and witnessed the crash, told IB Times UK at the scene: "I was walking through Vauxhall at about ten to eight, I'd just come out of the station and heard a big bang and creaking metal.

"I saw three people on the pavement, they were sprawled on the ground and looking up, then I saw a helicopter shooting across the sky. It fell and smashed on the ground. People were running away and there was a big explosion.

"It was just surreal, I phoned 999 and then looked up at the crane, saw it had snapped. The police arrived in a couple of minutes."

Another eyewitness interviewed by IB Times UK, Jim O'Doherty, said: "I got there just after it happened and I reckon less than about 3-4 minutes as I luckily stopped to chat to my neighbour. There was a single policeman on our side approaching Vauxhall from the Wandsworth Road side, trying to keep everyone back. I thought it was just a nasty car accident but thought I could nip past on my bike as it was on the right-hand side of the road.

"I saw a car explode while I was thinking about it and smelled a lot of what I thought was petrol so thought in the interests of my own safety it was best that I turn around and not try to skip past the policeman.

"The crowd were saying there was someone stuck in one of the cars. I wasn't able to see anyone, especially after the explosion as the area filled up with smoke so it was pretty hazy to see.

"I can see the tower from my flat every day, me and my wife did comment the other day that we hadn't seen the top of it in a good week or so."

Click here to see inside the luxury tower block for millionaires at heart of helicopter tragedy.

Another man who was on the scene moments after the craft crashed in Vauxhall revealed: "People were screaming and shouting and hollering and the next thing I knew, the police were everywhere."

He described the moment the helicopter struck: "There was a massive bang with fire and smoke. It looked like a bomb had gone off.

"People were screaming - it was frightening. On the left side of the road there were cars on fire. One of them was completely gone.

"We could se the debris., people were being pushed further and further back."

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