Vauxhall helicopter crash pilot named


50-year-old Captain Barnes was killed after the helicopter crashed into a crane


THE pilot killed in today’s helicopter crash in central London has been named as Captain Pete Barnes.
Captain Barnes was 50 years old and had logged more than 10,500 flying hours in a 25-year long career, which included a number of film and television credits.
A spokesman for London Heliport at Battersea said Heathrow air traffic control had requested Captain Barnes be allowed to land there due to bad weather.
Just 25 minutes before the crash he had taken off from Redhill, Surrey on a routine trip to pick a business client in Elstree, Hertfordshire.
“The helicopter involved in the accident was not destined in to the London Heliport,” read a London Heliport statement.
“However, we received a request from Heathrow air traffic control to accept the helicopter, which requested to be diverted owing to bad weather.
“Earlier in the helicopter’s journey the pilot had been receiving an air traffic control service from NATS (National Air Traffic control).
“At no point in time were we able to establish contact with the helicopter. The management and owners at London Heliport are very saddened to learn of this tragic accident.”
Records for the helicopter thought to be involved in the crash – G-CRST – show that it was built in 1997 and is registered with leasing company Castle Air of Liskeard, Cornwall, since February 2011.
“It’s a huge shock and tragedy. Our thoughts are with those people who have been killed and injured in this morning’s terrible tragedy and with the family and friends of those involved,” said Jon Horne, the chief executive of Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey.
Investigators from the the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the wreckage from the crash would be taken to their headquarters in Farnborough and a full report would take several months to complete.
About 90 firefighters attended the scene after the helicopter hit the top of the crane of The Tower, One St George Wharf shortly after 8am.
In addition to Captain Barnes, one unnamed person died on the ground while 13 others were treated for minor injuries, with six taken to hospital.
“It was something of a miracle that this was not many, many times worse,” said Metropolitan Police Commander Neil Basu.
Eyewitnesses reported that the helicopter appeared to be flying erratically before hitting the crane, part of which is now lodged in the side of a residential building, currently under construction.
Part of the helicopter also landed in Wandsworth Road, hitting two cars and causing a huge fire ball, with firefighters rescuing one man from his burning vehicle.
Eyewitnesses claimed there was low cloud at the time of the crash but no fog, with the nearest weather observation site, at London City Airport, reporting 700m visibility at a height of 100ft.
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