London Helicopter Crash Continued

Thursday, January 17, 2013
By George Hatcher

The Wednesday January 16, 2013 crash of the helicopter that struck a crane on top of London’s St George Wharf Tower did result in two casualties. Two office buildings, 5 cars & 2 motorbikes were damaged. The AgustaWest AW109E #G-CRST was flown by Rotormotion, and leased from Castle Air.

Weather people are saying that the top of the crane was not in fog but in a low cloud. (This is apparently different from fog, and might be something I should ask my pilots about. And this London. London=Fog, no?)

Four people were injured and taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital. Five injured were taken to Kings College Hospital. Seven people were treated at the scene. One of the injured was rescued from a burning car. The helicopter fell to Wandsworth Road, hit some vehicles, burst into flames; and falling burning debris started flames in some buildings. Although there were people in the area who thought the accident was a bomb and didn’t realize the helicopter had struck the crane, some witnesses saw the helicopter clip the crane and in seconds, spin out of control. Part of the crane also fell.

I think it’s nothing short of a miracle that there were only two killed and nine injured. London has 8.2 million people.

The pilot, Peter Barnes, was en route from Redhill to Elstree, but had diverted to Battersea because of the visibility. Barnes had over 12,000 flying hours, was employed by charter firm Rotormotion and had flown in the movies Die Another Day, Tomb Raider II and Saving Private Ryan.

Night officially ended thirty minutes before the crash, at which time lights on tall structures were allowed to be turned off. The lights are not visible during fog and bad weather.

The accident resulted in some subway/tube/station closures.

The wreckage will be taken to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch at Farnborough, Hampshire, and a report will take several months. The AAIB site announces The AAIB has sent a team to investigate a helicopter accident in Vauxhall, London – 16 January 2013.


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