Jan 24 2013 by Joe Thomas, Ormskirk Advertiser
Helicopter crash survivor from Maghull tells of narrow escape
A GRADUATE was seconds away from disaster as a helicopter plunged towards his train last week.
James Long was on his way to work when screaming commuters turned his attention to the plummeting craft.
Two died and a dozen people were injured in the tragic crash in London, with police labelling it “miraculous” there were no more casualties.
Mr Long, 24, was on a train bound for Waterloo when the helicopter crashed into the ground after clipping a crane in low cloud in Vauxhall, London, last week (January 16).
Speaking to the Advertiser he described the moment he saw the helicopter hit the ground.
He said: “First that I saw of the helicopter was [when] a couple of people screamed on the train going past.
“This prompted me to look out the window just as the helicopter hit the ground and burst into flames.
“It sort of bounced and exploded. It was an intense explosion because you could feel the heat radiate through the train’s windows and there was a line of fire, presumably where the fuel tank had ruptured.”
The helicopter crashed into Wandsworth Road at around 8am, landing just metres from the railway tracks.
In the hysteria that followed Mr Long, from Maghull, revealed the confusion on board his train as the helicopter burst into flames.
He said: “Truthfully, I thought that a car had exploded and flipped over. This is what I text my dad saying and what I said when I got to work.
“It was only when I spoke to those in work that I realised that it was a helicopter, explaining the screams beforehand. It was all over the TV in my departments and I hadn't noticed.
“Car or helicopter my first thoughts were that someone had been killed, sometimes you can sort of tell. People in the train were visibly shaken by the incident.”
Only when Mr Long, who works in finance in the City, returned home did he realise how close his train had come to being hit.
He said: “It wasn't until the evening watching the news that I realised that I had been quite lucky.
“It was explained that the pilot took it away from the train as he was coming down, I didn't even know how close I had come to it.”