Helicopter explodes after crashing into construction crane in central Londion
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A helicopter today crashed into a crane atop one of Europe's tallest residential blocks in central London killing two people, including the pilot, and injuring 13 others, as it plunged to the ground during rush hour and was engulfed in flames.
The helicopter was reported to have been carrying a pilot but no passengers. It struck the ground just 20 yards from Vauxhall station, a major commuting hub in the capital.
A witness said the helicopter struck the side of the 51-storey St George Wharf Tower, Britain's tallest block of flats currently under-construction, near the river Thames, as it crashed.
Witnesses reported seeing a "massive ball of flames" and a deafening "explosion" after the helicopter plunged more than 700 feet to the ground.
Metropolitan Police Commander Neil Basu told reporters at the scene of the accident that "the pilot of the helicopter was killed. The other (person killed) was in the proximity of where the aircraft came down".
Of the thirteen wounded, six were admitted to a hospital and one of them was said to be in a critical condition.
Police said there was nothing to suggest a terrorism link to the crash.
"There's nothing in our world at this stage," a spokesman for London's Counter Terrorism Command said. "There's nothing to suggest any terrorism link," he added.
Witnesses reported very low cloud and misty conditions at the time of the accident, suggesting the pilot may not have seen the crane atop the building which was barely visible from street level.
Witnesses said the helicopter, which is believed to have been heading from Redhill, Surrey, to Elstree, Hertfordshire, to collect an executive was using the route of river Thames when it hit the crane at 8am near Vauxhall Bridge in Vauxhall.
A spokesman for London Heliport at Battersea said the pilot had requested to divert and land there due to bad weather.