An investigation into last week’s tragic helicopter crash yesterday revealed that the pilot had decided to pick up his passenger despite concerns about the weather.
The helicopter collided with a crane attached to The Tower, One St George Wharf in Vauxhall, killing the pilot, Pete Barnes, and a pedestrian, Matthew Wood, as well as injuring several others.
The report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) showed that the helicopter had left Redhill Aerodrome and was heading for Elstree to pick up a passenger. Unable to land, he tried to return to Redhill, before deciding to divert to Battersea Heliport immediately before the collision.
Although the full AAIB report isn’t expected for some months, the organisation say they will examine regulation of flights over central London and regulations relevant to development around aerodromes. Needless to say, speculation following the accident was rife, with questions over whether the crane was lit and if helicopters fly too close to cranes. There were also some suggestions on Twitter (sadly we now can’t find them) that banning skyscrapers and/or helicopters is the answer, not to mention MP Kate Hoey telling Radio 4 (wrongly) that the number of helicopter flights has increased.
Redhill helicopter charter company RotorMotion, with whom pilot Pete Barnes had worked for a number of years, have issued a press release:
“It is important to bear in mind that the AAIB has stopped short of publishing any analysis, conclusions or safety recommendations. It is also clear that there are many important lines of inquiry which still need to be pursued and we are continuing to co-operate fully with the AAIB in that process.”
Photo by cybertect in the Londonist Flickr pool.