Helicopter crash: Boris Johnson visits ‘tragic scene’

17:23 16 January 2013

Mayor of London Boris Johnson visits the tower block where a helicopter crashed into a crane. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Mayor of London Boris Johnson visits the tower block where a helicopter crashed into a crane. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

The direction taken by aircraft over London is being examined following today’s helicopter crash in Vauxhall, Boris Johnson has said.

The helicopter was on its way to Battersea heliport, where it had been redirected after being unable to land at Elstree because of the weather.

Pete Barnes, the helicopter’s pilot, was one of two people who died when the aircraft hit a crane at the St George’s Wharf development and then fell to the ground. The other fatality was a person on the ground.

Mr Johnson, who visited the site of the crash this afternoon, said: “There are all sorts of questions that people are asking now about tall buildings, about lighting, and about the usage of Battersea heliport.

“These are very understandable questions in these circumstances because people will naturally want to know that we are doing our level best to make sure that London is prepared for any aviation accidents of this kind.

“These are matters that are now being investigated by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) it would be wrong for me to pre-empt those.”

Mr Johnson said he had held talks with firefighters at the scene to check on the progress of their operation.

He added: “It’s a tragic scene of a wreckage of a carbonised helicopter and of course a great deal of damage done to an adjacent building and it doesn’t take a great deal to imagine what could have happened had that helicopter crashed into a bus or a heavily occupied building.”

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