London helicopter crash: Matthew Wood was 'big-hearted guy'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMatthew Wood was walking to work in Vauxhall when the helicopter crashed

The sister of a man killed when a helicopter crashed to the ground after hitting a crane in central London has paid tribute to her "big-hearted" brother.

Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, was walking to work when the helicopter crashed in Vauxhall on Wednesday.

Amanda Wood said he was a "big guy with a big heart" who doted on his nephew.

The family last heard from him when he sent a text to his brother on his way to work. Pilot Pete Barnes also died.

Mr Wood was on his way to his job at Rentokil when the accident happened. Miss Wood said she saw her brother for the last time at a bus stop on Tuesday, but he had not seen her and they did not speak.

She said her brother had sent a text to his brother Darren on Wednesday to ask about his nephew who had been in hospital after a minor accident.

As the news of the helicopter crash broke, Ms Wood and the rest of the family tried to call but could not get through to him.

'Top bloke'

Speaking at her home in Sutton, the supermarket worker said: "Some people we spoke to at his work told us that the building was shut but everyone was accounted for and that they couldn't get hold of Matt.

"Later they told us they said that because the police had to come and see us first because it still hadn't been confirmed 100%.

"But yesterday we said to the police 'is it a big guy?' and they said 'yes'.

Ms Wood told BBC London 94.9 although her brother had not been officially confirmed as the victim, police had warned the family "to expect the worst".

She said: "We know it's him. His phone is off and we've accepted it's him. It happened on the doorstep of where he worked. He would have had his music on."

Mr Wood's death came almost a year after his father Brian died from leukaemia on 21 January.

Image caption Part of the crane was left dangling from the top of the building

He had been with pest control firm Rentokil for nine years and had recently been made communications manager.

His sister said despite starting work at 09:00 GMT, Mr Wood was in Vauxhall when the crash happened at about 08:00 because he always got into the office early.

He was a keen traveller who was planning to treat himself to a holiday in Iceland for his birthday and had stayed friends with his former partner after she moved back to New Zealand.

Close friend Lance Robertson, 37, described Mr Wood as a "top bloke" who was passionate about music, Chelsea Football Club and Jack Daniels whiskey.

The theatre worker said the pair had met on a coach trip through Europe to see heavy metal band Iron Maiden in 1999.

"Everyone who came across him loved him," he added.

Fifty-year-old Mr Barnes, from near Reading in Berkshire, had flown for Redhill firm Rotormotion for 15 years and has been described by colleagues as "highly skilled".

More on this story