Helicopter crash: “We don’t know whether there was a problem with the aircraft”

11:40 16 January 2013

The fallen helicopter is understood to be an AgustaWestland 109 (AW109) Power - described by its maker as a “versatile” aircraft used in commercial and military markets.

The light-weight, twin engine helicopter has eight seats and is used for executive transport, offshore and emergency medical services, as well as surveillance and patrol missions for police forces, its manufacturer AgustaWestland says.

The aircraft is certified for single pilot use and is allowed to perform assisted take-offs from elevated helipads, that is, helipads raised from the ground.

It has a large passenger cabin with two large rear windows.

With the rotors turning, the helicopter is 13.04 metres long and 3.5 metres high. Its maximum cruise speed is 177 miles (285 kilometres) per hour.

Chris Yates, an independent aviation expert, told Sky News: “Helicopters are not supposed to come within 500 feet of any structure such as a high-rise building, so we don’t know what caused the pilot to get quite so close.

“We don’t know the circumstances he was operating in at the time - whether there was a problem with the helicopter itself, whether he misread his instructions or received false instructions from air traffic control.”

AgustaWestland is an Anglo-Italian multinational helicopter design and manufacturing company, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica.

The company has offices and plants worldwide, including its main UK office in Farnborough, Hampshire and a plant in Yeovil, Somerset.

Latest Stories

18:02
The chair appears to move of its own accord - or perhaps there is a ghostly explanation?

The spooky goings on apparently took place just hours after a psychic medium took to the stage in Romford. Coincidence? Almost certainly...

Read more
People enjoy the Royal Victoria beach as temperatures reaches 28C in London.

This weekend saw London’s biggest manmade beach open at the Royal Victoria Dock in Canning Town.

Read more
Nightcapp was born when Graham's friends got fed up with him waking them up late at night for recommendations for bars [Image courtesy of Nightcapp]

It’s surprising how much it happens in this global city: last orders comes before you’re ready for it, and you’re left with the choice of finding a 24-hour off-license or getting the nightbus whilst disconcertingly sober.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more
How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more