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Friday, January 18, 2013

Video Shows Flaming Wreckage After Helicopter Crash in London

Footage of the flaming wreckage of a helicopter crash in London on Wednesday posted on YouTube by Nic Walker.

Video and photographs posted online by witnesses showed smoke and fire on a street in central London after a helicopter crash on Wednesday. The police said the aircraft hit a crane atop a residential tower, exploding into flames and hurtling to the ground during the morning rush, my colleagues Lark Turner and Alan Cowell reported.

The pilot, identified by his employer as Capt. Pete Barnes, 50, was the nly occupant in the aircraft. He and one person on the ground were killed, and at least nine were injured after the helicopter hit the crane on one of Europe’s tallest residential towers, known as The Tower.

One witness described seeing cars on fire and people screaming and running for their lives, in a brief video interview. A worker in the area told Britain’s Channel 4 News that the helicopter was “struggling” and making “funny noises” before it crashed.

A video report from Britain’s Channel 4 News.

A journalist named Mike Smit! h posted a photograph of the crane on Twitter, and footage from Britain’s Sky News showed the location near the Thames.

Footage of the crash site, from Britain’s Sky News.

The most telling video and photographs, perhaps, were recorded by Nic Walker, a resident of Vauxhall, the area where the crash took place.

Later in the day, after the images he posted on YouTube and Twitter were widely published and broadcast, Mr. Walker wrote on his @nic0 Twitter feed that he had no interest in making money from the episode.

The Facebook page of RotorMotion, the company for which Captain Barnes was flying, carried condolence messages. In a statement, RotorMotion said he was a very skilled pilot who had left behind a wife and children

A spokesman for the company said that on Wednesday, Captain Barnes was on an executive charter flight and was on his way to pick up a client at Elstree Aerodrome. “We understand that he was diverting to Battersea heliport as a result of poor weather over Elstree and was approaching Battersea when the incident occurred,” said Paul Blezard.

Captain Barnes had an extensive career in medical ambulance flights. A British race car driver, Jolyon Palmer, wrote on Twitter that the pilot had helped to save his life in 2007.

The Yorkshire Post reported that Captain Barnes had flown with the air ambulance services there. In a 2006 profile of the pilot that discussed his work on films including the James Bond thriller “Die Another Day,” The Post quoted Captain Barnes saying, “It’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks â€" there’s a lot of hanging about and then suddenly you’re activated and you have to get on and do your stuff.”