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Two die in helicopter crane crash in Vauxhall, London


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Two die in helicopter crane crash in Vauxhall, London


Two people have died after a helicopter crashed into a crane at a building site in central London in misty conditions, police have said.


Police said it appeared the helicopter had hit the crane on top of a building at about 08:00 GMT.


London Fire Brigade has 60 firefighters at the scene near Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth. They said one of the dead was in the helicopter.


Burning wreckage lay in the road but the fire is now under control.


A man rescued from a burning car by firefighters is one of two people taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.


The incident caused gridlock with all approaches to the Vauxhall Cross one way system closed at the height of the rush hour and Vauxhall Tube station and railway station closed.


'Enormous bang'


The fire brigade was also attending a second scene involving a crane in a precarious position on St George's Wharf.


Video footage shot on a mobile phone showed an entire road blocked by burning wreckage and aviation fuel.


The side of a building on one side of the street was also damaged by the flames.


Passers-by stood watching as the wreckage burned. A motorcycle was also lying on its side in the road where it was abandoned.


Craig Dunne, who was walking to work at the time of the accident, said: "When I got to the end of the road there was a massive explosion and the crane is obviously in pieces.


"And I looked to the left-hand side and there were cars - three cars on fire - people screaming shouting and hollering, and the next thing I know there are police, ambulances and everything everywhere and people going crazy. Its madness - absolute madness."


Ex-BBC producer Paul Ferguson said the helicopter "plummeted straight into the ground".


He said: "The building the helicopter hit is shrouded in mist."


He said the crane at the top of the building was now hanging down the side of the building.


'Huge smoke cloud'


Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, witnessed the crash.


"I was walking towards Vauxhall tube station from Lambeth Palace area where I have a flat," she said.


"There was suddenly an enormous bang - I thought something exploded.


"It was coming from beyond Vauxhall tube station.

Continue reading the main story

At the scene

Justin Parkinson BBC News


Vauxhall is one of the busiest parts of central London for road and rail traffic.


The area was cordoned off as emergency vehicles went to the scene of the crash.


Police said a "major critical incident" had occurred, as cars were turned back.


There were large tailbacks as commuters sought alternative routes through Chelsea, while Vauxhall Bridge was closed to cars and bicycles.


Crowds of people stood across the Thames to watch as police and ambulance boats rushed towards the crash site.


"Then clouds and clouds of black smoke.


"I presumed what it was I heard was the crane collapsing or the helicopter crashing into it.


"I heard the bang then saw the clouds of smoke but there was too much in the way to see much at that point."


Some witnesses reported the wreckage hitting two cars.


Witnesses reported seeing debris on the ground.


Quinn Murray was cycling when he saw the crash.


He said: "I saw the helicopter hit the top of the crane and come down just to the left of the station.


"There was quite a large amount of fire and a huge smoke cloud. It wasn't on the road, but into a building site where they are building the new Nine Elms area.


"There's a huge number of emergency services."


Eyewitness Chris Matthison told BBC News: "There was some damage to the crane.


It's possible the crane is lying across Nine Elms road.


"The top of the nearest building is steeped in mist and difficult to see.


"I heard a very unusual dull thud, then there was silence. The silence really took my imagination. Emergency services responded very quickly."




Erin Rogers, who was waiting at a bus stop outside Vauxhall station, said: "It was a bit surreal actually. I just had a coffee in my hand, I looked up, heard a bang and saw bits of crane debris falling to the floor.


"Then the helicopter was in flames. The rest of the people at the bus station were looking on going 'What was that?'.


"It's something I will never forget for a long time."


Commuter Sherna Noah described seeing a "large plume of dark grey smoke" as she crossed Battersea Bridge at about 08:00 GMT.


She said: "I was coming across the bridge and basically I could see a few cyclists on the bridge looking towards the water.


"I looked over to see what they were looking at and could see a pall of grey smoke coming from the south side.


"You could see a large plume of dark grey smoke."


The Met told the BBC there was no suggestion the incident was linked to terrorism.







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