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Helicopter crashes into crane on Vauxhall Tower in South London

A helicopter has crashed into a crane on the St George’s Wharf tower being developed by a Berkeley subsidiary in South London, killing two people and injuring several more.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said “at this early stage it appears a helicopter was in collision with a crane on top of a building”.

Two people were confirmed dead at the scene, and one more has been taken to a South London hospital in a critical condition.

Three others suffered minor injuries and were taken to South London hospitals.

Five people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The London Fire Brigade confirmed that they were called at eight o’clock this morning and were attending the scene on Wandsworth Road, SW8.

The Brigade told CN the fire in the street was out, and a man had been rescued from a burning car.

“We’re still attending the crane in a precarious position [on the tower],” said a spokesman.

The London Fire Brigade said it had four fire engines and two rescue units at the St George’s Wharf tower in an attempt to stabilise the crane. It is also carrying out a precautionary search of the river Thames, after the Royal National Lifeboat Institution sent out a lifeboat earlier at the request of the London Coastguard.

Vauxhall bus, underground and railway stations have been closed, and roads were closed at the height of the rush hour.

Eyewitness accounts:

I just had a coffee in my hand, I looked up, heard a bang and saw bits of crane debris falling to the floor.

Then the helicopter was in flames. The rest of the people at the bus station were looking on going ‘What was that?’.

– Erin Rogers to ITV News

Sarah-Beth Casey saw the immediate aftermath of the helicopter crash.

When I heard the explosion - it was like a little earthquake. It was like a gas explosion. I looked up to see debris falling off the tower. I can’t see any people on the ground, it seems to be a lucky escape.

– Sarah-Beth Casey to Sky News

Broadway Malyan designed the tower. It is being developed by St George, part of the Berkeley group.

Eight fire engines and four fire rescue units, comprising around 60 firefighters plus officers, are understood to be on the scene.

A spokesman for developer St George said: “Our thoughts at this time are with the friends and families of those killed in this tragic incident.”

“Emergency services are on the scene and authorities are investigating the circumstances. We are offering our full support and assistance to the emergency services.”

Brookfield Multiplex was contracted to construct the shell and core of the building, according to the firm’s website.

The Vauxhall Tower is planned to reach 52 storeys when completed. It was scheduled to be finished in 2013.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has recently stood down a lifeboat dispatched to search the river Thames, which is a few hundred yards from the Vauxhall site.

It was launched on the request of the London Coastguard in reponse to the incident.

Duty Manager Ian Dunkley said: “The lifeboat crew and police are carrying out a detailed search of the river and the shoreline in that area along with other emergency services.”

Road Closures:

Vauxhall Bridge Road southbound
Wandsworth Road (partially)
Nine Elms Lane (partially)
South Lambeth Road (partially)

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