Image credit: Quin Murray/Twitter

Helicopter crash in central London shocks commuters

A helicopter burst into flames after hitting a crane on top of a tower near Vauxhall Station during rush hour, killing two people.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 21 May 2013

Police confirmed that two people have died and at least another 11 others injured when a helicopter collided with a crane at the top of a tower just after 8am this morning.

The Tower, which is in the St George Wharf development, overlooks Vauxhall Station and the crash happened at the peak of mid-morning rush hour. Vauxhall Tube station and railway station were closed immediately afterwards and all approaches to the Vauxhall Cross one way system were shut down.  

Witnesses on the platform at Vauxhall Station told MT they saw a helicopter clip the crane at around 0805, while others reported seeing a ‘massive ball of flames’ and a deafening ‘explosion,’ sending debris flying through the area. The area was surrounded by very low cloud at the time.

MT editor Matthew Gwyther was nearby at the time. 'Every day I go past there with my children on the way to school. Today if we’d been five minutes early, god knows what would have happened. The area is so crowded with traffic and people at that time of day it’s a miracle more people were not killed.'

Doctors said one of the dead was in the helicopter and the other on the ground.

A witness, Aaron Cane, told BBC 5Live: ‘I heard a big crash and I looked up. There was a massive ball of flames. It is chaos. I just saw the helicopter hit the floor.’

‘Passengers on my train have just seen a helicopter crash into a building in battersea. Huge fireball,’ @AmyBick tweeted.

Quinton Murray, who took the picture above, tweeted: Helicopter just hit a crane and crashed a few metres in front of me in Vauxhall. Completely shaken.

Paul Ferguson, who was working in an office nearby, told BBC News: ‘There was a flash and the helicopter plunged to the ground. It exploded and you can imagine the smoke coming out of it…It may be that on this misty morning the lights on nearby St George's Tower weren't on and it moved and clipped the edge of the crane and lost control.’

South West Trains says Vauxhall Station has since reopened.

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