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2 Killed in London Helicopter Crash, Eyewitnesses Record Fiery Aftermath

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on January 16, 2013

At the height of Wednesday morning’s rush-hour commute in central London, a helicopter crashed into a crane atop the 50-story residential St. George Wharf Tower. The pilot, who was flying solo aboard the helicopter, and one person on the ground were killed, and 13 others were injured.

london helicopter crash

“It is something of a miracle that this was not many, many times worse given the time of day,” police commander Neil Basu said.

With London under a heavy blanket of thick fog, there are reports that the pilot asked to be diverted in order to land at London Heliport at Battersea due to bad weather, a spokesman for the owners of the heliport said.

The crash occurred in Vauxhall, south of the River Thames, near the British MI6 spy agency, but terrorism has been ruled out as a possibility at this time.

Here are some eyewitness videos from the scene immediately following that helicopter crash in Vauxhall, South London:

Britain Helicopter Crash
(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Britain Helicopter Crash
(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Britain Helicopter Crash
(AP Photo/Vince Pol)

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CNN has more reporting on the regulations of low-flying aircraft:

Chris Yates, an aviation security expert, told CNN it was likely there would be questions about whether the helicopter should have been flying in these conditions.

Under safety regulations, tall buildings must have navigation lights on top to make them visible to low flying aircraft, he said.

Helicopters are not supposed to fly within 500 feet of tall structures in central London, he said.

The London Heliport is nearby on the banks of the Thames, at Battersea.

The Air Accidents Investigation Bureau, part of the UK Department for Transport, has sent a team to investigate the crash.

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