Helicopter crash in Vauxhall
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- Helicopter has crashed into a crane in the Nine Elms area of Vauxhall.
- Two people have been confirmed dead at the scene including the pilot.
- Six people have been taken to hospital and seven people have been treated at the scene for minor injuries and shock.
- Severe bus delays in the area of up to one hour.
- Road closures in place across the area
Tributes have been paid to Captain Pete Barnes who was killed in a helicopter crane crash this morning.
Posting on the Rotor Motion facebook page, where Captain Barnes worked as a contract and training pilot, Joanne Facer wrote: "So sorry for the sad loss of Peter Barnes. RIP"
Lorraine Pickett said: "So sorry to everyone at rotormotion after the death of Pete Barnes, a very sad day... R.I.P Pete,xx"
Andrew Warnock wrote: "Sad Sad day. deepest sympathy to all at Rotormotion and prayers for Pete Barnes Family".
The pilot who was killed in a helicopter crash this morning has been named as Captain Pete Barnes.
The experienced helicopter pilot, from the Nottinghamshire area, was flying over the Nine Elms area in Vauxhall this morning when he crashed into a crane on top of the St George Tower.
The 50-year-old captain had over 20 years flying experience.
Over his extensive flying career Captain Barnes has worked with air ambulance services across the UK, as a traffic copter and as a stunt pilot working on films inclulding James Bond - Die Another Day, Tomb Raider II and Saving Private Ryan.
A big thank you to @salvationarmyuk who kept emergency crews supplied with hot tea at today's #helicopter crash. http://t.co/WoVMROzo— @LondonFire 16 January 2013
Two office buildings, 5 cars & 2 motorbikes were damaged by debris from #helicopter crash. Latest here http://t.co/LCiOWUGl— @LondonFire 16 January 2013
Statement from Councillor Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council.
"Our first thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives in Vauxhall this morning.
"I want to praise the response of the emergency services who are at the scene. I understand that swift action by the fire service may well have saved the life of one of the casualties of the crash.
"The incident has been a shock for the many residents and workers in this densely built up residential and commercial area with tragic deaths and serious injuries.
"The safety of Lambeth residents is my major concern and I will be seeking reassurances about the procedures governing helicopter flights."
Phoenix House in Vauxhall, the council’s Phoenix House office building in Vauxhall, is currently closed.
Statement from Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council.
"I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the families of the two people who have lost their lives as a result of today’s tragic events in Vauxhall.
"I would also like to pay tribute to the courage and professionalism of the emergency services who responded so quickly and efficiently to today’s unprecedented scenes.
"I have also spoken to the leader of Lambeth Council and reassured her that we are ready and able to offer any assistance and support if it is needed.
"I know that senior and technical staff at the town hall have also spoken to their counterparts at Lambeth and emphasised that our help is available should it be required.
"We have also set up an emergency rest centre to offer shelter and accommodation to residents of the area who have been evacuated from their homes or cannot get through police cordons around the crash site.
"There are two housing blocks in Nine Elms Lane that have been evacuated. Our information is these are Riverside Court and Elm Quay Court.
"Anyone who lives in these properties can go to the Savona Community clubroom in nearby Ascalon Street and remain there until the emergency services declare the area safe.
"We hope these residents will be able to return to their homes as soon as possible but until then they are welcome in the clubroom for hot drinks and somewhere warm to wait until the all-clear is given."
RT @iainwbuilding: There were 50-100 people there when it happened and people had to run. Everyone was queuing to get to work #Vauxhall— @BuildingNews 16 January 2013
A spokesperson from the London Ambulance Service has confirmed that one of the fatalities was the pilot of the helicopter, the other a person in the immediate are of the crash.
The second person killed was not in the building as previously thought.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has thanked emergency services for their "rapid and professional" response following a helicopter crash in Nine Elms this morning during this week's questions in the House of Commons.
The pilot of the helicopter which crashed in central London had requested to divert and land at London Heliport at Battersea due to bad weather, a spokesman for the owners of the heliport said.
A commercial helicopter service based in Cornwall has refused to confirm or deny whether the helicopter involved in this mornings crash was one of their fleet.
Castle Air did however confirm that they would be releasing a statement later today.
The pilot of the helicopter that crashed into a crane in the Nine Elms area this morning has been confirmed as one of those killed.
Another person was confirmed dead at the scene was reportedly in the building at the time of the crash.
It is believed the helicopter was carrying no passengers.
Police commander Neil Basu, who has just given a press briefing, said: "I can confirm there were two fatalities.
“At this stage we are aware of a further nine injured, five of which have been taken to hospital."
He said one driver whose car was hit by the debris had managed to free himself from the vehicle on his own.
The air investigation branch are on their way to the scene and will be investigating the cause of the crash.
Rumours had been circulating this morning that the crane was not lit correctly, despite heavy fog in the area.
Mr Basu said he was not aware of this but that it would form part of the investigation.
It is understood the commercial helicopter was on a scheduled flight from Redhill in Surrey when it collided with the crane.
It is not yet known if the flight had been redirected or if it was trying to land at Battersea helipad.
The helicopter crashed into the crane at about 8am this morning breaking off its arm and leaving it hanging from the side of the building.
Mr Basu added: “The crane is still in a precarious position.
"There are crews up there right now assessing the situation.
“Although aircraft do contain hazardous materials there is not reasons for anyone to be afraid.
“At the moment the most important thing is for the emergency services to get London back to normal and moving again
"As soon as we can be confident the scene is safe we can restore London back to normality.”
Vauxhall train and underground station has now reopened for passengers.
Road closures are still in place in the area and buses through the area have been affected by severe delays.
One person has been taken to a south London hospital in a critical condition following a helicopter crash this morning.
Two people have been confirmed dead at the scene.
Three people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries and five people have been treated at the scene for minor injuries and shock.
MPS have confirmed the following road closures:-
= Vauxhall Bridge Road southbound
= Wandsworth Road (partially)
= Nine Elms Lane (partially)
= South Lambeth Road (partially)
Members of the publlic have been advised to avoid the area.
Vauxhall tube, train and bus stations remain closed closed.
Wreckage this morning after a helicopter crashed into a construction crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London.
Fire fighters on the scene this morning - photo by Dean McIntosh
A precautionary search of the River Thames following a helicopter crash this morning has now ended and has found nothing.
Tower RNLI have released this statement.
"The crew at Tower RNLI lifeboat station in central London launched the lifeboat at the request of London Coastguard this morning to search the river following a helicopter crash in Vauxhall.
"London Coastguard requested the lifeboat crew launch as part of the wider emergency service response to this incident, in which a helicopter crashed to the ground in Wandsworth Road.
"The site of the crash is a few hundred yards from the River Thames."
The search of the river and shoreline was stopped at 10.20am with nothing found.
View from nearby offices - Tweet by @casualmind_
We are aware of 11 casualties: 2 people confirmed dead, 4 taken to hospital (1 critical), 5 treated at scene #LondonHelicopter #Vauxhall— @metpoliceuk 16 January 2013
Police Commander Neil Basu is expected to give a press briefing shortly.
London Fire Brigade has released this statement.
"Six fire engines, four fire rescue units, a number of other specialist vehicles, 88 firefighters and officers are attending a helicopter crash near Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth.
"Firefighters have now brought the fire under control.
"The police have confirmed that two people have died at the scene.
"Fire crews have rescued a man from a burning car and he has been taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.
"Fifty seven firefighters and officers are also attending a crane which has been left in a precarious position at Saint Georges Wharf, SW8 as a result of the helicopter crash. Four fire engines and two fire rescue units are in attendance.
"The Brigade's fire boat is carrying out a precautionary search of the river."
"The Brigade was called at 0800."
Severe travel delays are affecting the Vauxhall area following a helicopter crash this morning.
Train, bus and underground transport has ground to a halt leaving thousands of commuters and construction workers, who have been evacuated from the site, stranded in freezing temperatures.
Buses in the surrounding area of Vauxhall are subject to severe delays of up to an hour.
Routes 2, 36, 77, 87, 88, 156, 185, 196, 344, 360 and 436 are subject to diversions and severe delays.
Vauxhall underground station and Victoria underground station also remain closed.
A construction worker has described the moment he saw a helicopter "fireball" and crash to the ground after it smashed into a crane this morning.
Danny Riggs said: "The first thing I heard was a huge crash up on St George's tower then I saw this fireball, which was the helicopter crashing to the ground right on to a few cars which were on Wandsworth Road near the Sainsbury's.
"It's unbeliveable and incredible more people weren't hurt."
Dozens of people have been taken to hospital, some seriously injured.
Two people were confirmed dead at the scene.
The construction site has now been evacuated leaving thousands of site workers stranded.
A crane driver who was in the crane which was hit by a helicopter this morning has survived.
His friend and fellow crane driver, who was about to start his shift when he saw the helicopter crash into St George tower, has described his survival as a miracle.
Rezart Isalma said: “I am still in complete shock.
"I saw the helicopters hit the arm of the crane and that the crane had buckled and the arm broke off and took about 5 or 6 seconds before it toppled to the floor.”
Two people have been confirmed dead at the scene and a further two have been taken to a south London hospital.
Their condition is not yet known.
The helicopter hit a crane on St George Tower before crashing onto Wandsworth Road by the Flower Market
Dean McIntosh, who lives just metres from the crash, was on his computer when he heard the crash.
He said: “From my bedroom window you can see the crane attached to the tower. From what I heard it sounded like the helicopter engine lost power – there was that noise, just before the bang. I ran to the window and could see a massive cloud of black smoke from where the school used to be..
The song-writer and co-owner of Romantique Rags in Clapham described running onto Wandsworth Road and witnessing the carnage.
He said: “By the time I got there police were everywhere and fire engines.
"There was a range rover which had just been abandoned outside the Roller Disco by the railway bridge and further down there were cars on fire.”
Tower RNLI lifeboats are searching the Thames following sightings of a person in the Thames after Helicopter crash at Vauxhall— @Joe_Trading 16 January 2013
Two people have been confirmed dead at the scene.
A further two people have been taken to a south London hospital.
Their condition is not yet known.
Ceaser Baccheschi, has described the moment he heard the crash outside of Vauxhall station.
He said: "It was early this morning.
"I just came out of the subway in Vauxhall, when I heard a big crash.
"Nobody knew what was going on, but few minutes later I saw smoke coming from nearby.
"It was a black thick smoke.
"People said that a helicopter crashed against a crane.
"In fact the crane was missing the horizontal harm.
"The cloud of smoke was very big and it smelled like burned plastic."
Video from Twitter user Nic Walker @Nic0
Fire crews from across the borough have been called to a helicopter crash in the Vauxhall area.
It is believed the helicopter crashed into a crane in the Nine Elms area.
Police were first called to the scene at about 8am this morning and around 20 fire engines currently at the scene including crews from Wandsworth and Battersea fire station.
Vauxhall Bridge southbound, Harleyford Road westbound at the junction with Kennington Lane, South Lambeth Road northbound at the junction with Miles Street and Nine Elms Lane eastbound at the junction with Ponton Road are all closed.
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