Saturday January 19, 2013
Blaze killed pedestrian in London helicopter crash
LONDON: A pedestrian caught up in the London helicopter crash died from severe burns, police said Friday as they announced the official causes of death for the passer-by and the pilot.
The post-mortem results on the two men killed in Wednesday's crash were given as work continued to remove the mangled wreckage of the crane hit by the helicopter.
The autopsies conducted Thursday found that 50-year-old pilot Pete Barnes died from multiple injuries, while pedestrian Matthew Wood, 39, suffered severe burns and a leg injury, said Scotland Yard police headquarters.
In dense mist, the helicopter hit the crane and plunged to the ground, crashing into a road during the morning rush hour, just metres from the train line linking London's busiest railway terminus with much of southern England.
The helicopter exploded in flames, sending burning wreckage across the street and setting a car on fire, while the boom of the crane fell onto a street below.
Wood was killed as he walked to his job as a manager at a pest control firm.
Five people were taken to hospital, four with minor injuries and one with a broken leg, while seven others were treated at the scene.
Police commander Neil Basu said it was "something of a miracle" that there were not more fatalities.
The crane was attached to a 51-storey tower of luxury flats at Vauxhall, near the headquarters of the MI6 foreign spy agency on the south bank of the River Thames.
The top of The Tower, One St George Wharf was shrouded in mist. It will be Britain's tallest solely-residential building once complete.
Barnes, considered one of the most highly qualified helicopter pilots in Britain, had worked with the air ambulance and on several films including "Saving Private Ryan" and the James Bond movie "Die Another Day".
He also worked on filming the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Barnes was flying across London but the bad weather caused him to divert towards London Heliport, three miles (five kilometres) west of the crash site.
It was the first fatal helicopter accident in London since records began in 1976. - AFP