Helicopter Crash in London Vauxhall

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A helicopter is understood to have hit a crane this morning on the south bank near Vauxhall Railway Station at just after 08:00am.

It is reported that two people have died in the accident. It is not yet known who these people are, and how it was that they were injured. There are 12 casualties confirmed with one critically ill.

The helicopter hit a crane on the St George Wharf Tower next to the river Thames in Vauxhall and crashed nearby on Wandsworth Road.

One eyewitness, Quinn Murray, said: "I saw the helicopter hit the top of the crane and come down just to the left of the station.

"There was quite a large amount of fire and a huge smoke cloud. It wasn't on the road, but into a building site where they are building the new Nine Elms area.

"There's a huge number of emergency services."

Announcements have been made to keep people back from the site and a cordon has been moved back due to a gas smell. Firefighters on the scene have now brought the fire under control.

The Met Office told the BBC there is no suggestion that the incident is linked to terrorism.

Update 12pm: It is now known that the pilot, who was on route from Redhill aerodrome in surrey to Elstree in Hertfordshire, had asked the owners of the London Heliport at Battersea to land there because of the bad weather. He was one of the two who died at the scene.

There are also reports that the crane on the St George Wharf Tower had no warning lights illuminated despite a complaint being made to police three months ago by a member of the public. A member of The Metropolitan Police helicopter crew has said "all cranes that are above a certain height have to be lit and those that aren't are reported and fined"

The London Ambulance Service's crews have taken six patients with minor injuries to hospital, one with a broken leg and seven patients have been treated on scene. The London Fire Brigade have also said there is no reason for anyone to worry about hazardous materials in the air.

Update 4pm: The pilot of the helicopter has been identified as 50 year old Pete Barnes. He is understood to have piloted helicopters in film action scenes such as Die Another Day and Saving Private Ryan. Mr Barnes is being described as one of Britain's top helicopter pilots with 25 years' experience.

If you were in any way injured or affected by this incident then please telephone Adrian Fawden, Head of our London Office, on his direct dial number 0345 357 9000.


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