A little bit of fog may not seem enough to stop you from driving, but it can be deadly! Early this morning an Agusta 109 Civilian helicopter hit a crane on the top of a building in Vauxhall, London. The accident is said to have been caused by fog making the winter visibility conditions even worse.
At first there were fears that this was a bomb attack, however the threat of terrorism was quickly ruled out.
The wreckage of the helicopter landed on the London streets once it had ‘cartwheeled to the ground’. Any witnesses were soon running for their lives as the flaming remains of the helicopter fell. There were reports that the wreckage has fallen a 60 story distance from the crash site to the ground. The helicopter remains hit two cars leaving one man trapped inside. Luckily the driver was soon able to escape with the help of fire rescue crews on the scene. Over 60 firefighters and eight fire engines were in the area tackling the blaze caused by the accident.
All in all there have been 12 casualties, two fatalities and one person who is critically ill from the crash site. Luckily the rest of the injured seemed to have gotten off lightly and have only suffered from minor injuries. News reports say that the pilot has been killed in the accident.
A spokesperson for the London Ambulance said: “We have taken four patients to hospital – two patients to St Thomas’ and the other 2 to King’s College Hospital. Four other patients are currently being treated for shock at the scene.” The large rescue operation happened among the mix of heavy fog and smoke.
The crane that was at the scene of the accident was on top of building is known as ‘The Tower’, a part of the St George Wharf development. It is a building that has been planned to be one of Europe’s tallest residential buildings.
So far early explanations for the incident have included that the Helicopter was flying far too low through the cosmopolitan area. The helicopter was said to have been heading to the nearby Battersea Heliport. There are also theories that heavy fog was responsible for the crash that happened above London streets.
The crash has caused chaos on the nearby roads, with many bus routes diverted and train stations closed. There was gridlock as panicked commuters caused traffic as they fled the scene, while the emergency services were trying to get to the blaze and to treating the casualties.
No doubt that the relevant authorities will now begin investigations into why the accident occurred and how such incidents can be prevented. What were the safety measures that could have been put in place but in this case were not. Why was the helicopter flying in such severe fog? Was the experienced pilot indeed flying far too low than was safe? Could he have taken another route around the busy city of London that would have lowered the chances of this happening? Also it will question the safety of very tall residential buildings-exactly how safe are they in a cosmopolitan city with a lot of air traffic?
Transport for London will be working to get the city back on track after this morning’s incident, ensuring that Public Transport services will be running normally as soon as possible.