London

London helicopter crash victim Matthew Wood killed in fire

Pete Barnes (left) and Matthew Wood
Image caption Pete Barnes and Matthew Wood were killed in the crash in Vauxhall

A pedestrian killed when a helicopter crashed into a crane in central London died from severe burns, a post-mortem examination has found.

Matthew Wood, 39, of Sutton, also suffered a leg injury in the crash on Wednesday morning.

Pete Barnes, 50, from Berkshire, who was the pilot of the helicopter, died from multiple injuries, the Metropolitan Police said.

Twelve other people were hurt in the incident in Vauxhall.

Mr Barnes, a father-of-two, had flown for charter firm Rotormotion for 15 years.

Mr Wood worked at pest control firm Rentokil and was killed on his way to the office.

The helicopter hit the crane on top of The Tower at One St George Wharf, beside the River Thames, at about 08:00 GMT.

Removal halted

Cars and two buildings caught fire after the burning wreckage fell into Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth. About 80 firefighters tackled the blaze.

Image caption The helicopter crashed into a crane on a building in Vauxhall

Mr Wood's sister, Amanda Wood, described him as a "big guy with a big heart".

Yesterday, Mr Barnes's brother, Chris, said it would have been his sibling's instinct to try to minimise the number of people who were hurt.

The 55-year old, from Nottingham, said: "It's a matter of instinct, it's what pilots do. He was very good at what he did."

Mr Barnes had two children, eight-year-old Freddie and 12-year-old Alexandra, with his partner Rebecca Dixon.

Cordons and road closures remain in place around Vauxhall but work has been halted to remove the mangled wreckage of the crane, because of severe weather conditions.

Building contractor Brookfield Multiplex had hoped to complete the work by the middle of next week, but on Friday said: "No action will be taken on site unless safe so conditions will be monitored and assessed regularly."

Transport for London advised drivers to avoid the area throughout the weekend.

There have been cross-party calls for a review into the number of helicopter flights over London.

Harrow East Conservative MP Bob Blackman said: "The regulations may not have been reviewed for some time and this provides an opportunity on the back of a tragedy."

Poplar and Limehouse Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick said: "London's landscape has changed and we need to review what happens."

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said: "Helicopter operations in central London are strictly controlled.

"Wednesday's tragic accident is the first fatal helicopter accident in London since we began taking records in 1976.

"However, any accident is of course taken extremely seriously and we will be providing any assistance required to the independent Air Accidents Investigation Branch."

There have been 12 serious incidents involving helicopters in the capital in the last 20 years, according to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), but none involving fatalities.

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