Jan 16 2013
Two people have died and several were injured when a helicopter crashed in central London after the pilot attempted to divert due to bad weather.
The helicopter spun out of control and crash-landed after clipping a crane on top of one of Europe's tallest residential towers. It fell from the sky before exploding into flames, plunging on to Wandsworth Road near Vauxhall station.
The owners of London Heliport at Battersea said they received a request via Heathrow air traffic control from the pilot asking to divert due to bad weather. Police said the helicopter was on a scheduled flight from Redhill, Surrey, to Elstree, Hertfordshire.
The two people killed were the pilot and someone on the ground, emergency services said. Firefighters rescued a man from a burning car and brought a blaze caused by the crash under control.
A spokesman for Aldersgate Investments, the company owned by the billionaire Reuben Brothers, which owns London Heliport, said: "Just before 8am today a helicopter crashed in central London close to Vauxhall Bridge. The helicopter involved in the accident was not destined for the London Heliport. However, we received a request from Heathrow air traffic control to accept the helicopter, which had asked to be diverted due to bad weather."
He added: "The London Heliport never gained contact with the helicopter."
Addressing a press conference near the scene of the incident, Commander Neil Basu, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "I can confirm the pilot has been killed."
Mr Basu said the police force were working with other agencies including the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Civilian Aviation Authority. Asked if the lights on top of the building and crane were faulty, Mr Basu said: "That will form part of the investigation."
Pauline Cranmer, operations manager at London Ambulance Service, said: "The second fatality was not in the building. It was in close proximity to the helicopter. We believe there was one person in the helicopter and that person has died."
London Ambulance Service has confirmed six people were treated in hospital for injuries, including a broken leg, while seven other casualties were treated at the scene.