Police have confirmed two people have died at the scene of a helicopter crash in south London and 12 others have been injured.
The pilot, who was the only one aboard the helicopter, was killed. The other fatality was a person on the ground. One of the injured remains in a critical condition.
The helicopter hit a construction crane working on one of Europe’s tallest residential buildings during the morning rush hour.
It came down close in Vauxhall on south bank of the River Thames not far from the headquarters of Britain’s MI6 international intelligence agency and the Houses of Parliament, but police have ruled out a terrorism link to the crash.
The aircraft fell to the ground and burst into flames
near Vauxhall train station, a major transport hub, which was packed with thousands of commuters at the time of the incident .
“We were sitting having a coffee about 7.30 and we just heard an explosion. It sounded like a fighter plane flying over, and we just heard a loud explosion and we thought there’d been a terrorist attack and we came straight out onto the main road, and there were these huge plumes of smoke over the back there,” said Matt Harveson who was near by.
Another eyewitness added: “I was on top of (a nearby) building. I saw the helicopter come over and hit the jib of the crane. The helicopter came crashing down. The cab came crashing down into the road and the jib of the crane went straight into the side of the building and it’s hanging out of the side of the building as it is now.”
The top of the building was still shrouded by low cloud hours after the crash. Part of the crane also fell to the ground smashing into two cars.
The crane operator had a lucky escape. He was about to climb up into it, but had been delayed.