At 0820 hrs on 16 January 2013 the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was notified that a helicopter flying over central London had collided with a crane and crashed into the street near Vauxhall Bridge. A team of AAIB inspectors and support staff arrived on the scene at 1130 hrs. The helicopter was flying to the east of London Heliport when it struck the jib of a crane, attached to a building development at St George Wharf, at a height of approximately 700 ft amsl in conditions of reduced meteorological visibility. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the helicopter, and a pedestrian were fatally injured when the helicopter impacted a building and adjacent roadway.
The investigation identified the following causal factors:
- The pilot turned onto a collision course with the crane attached to the building and was probably unaware of the helicopter’s proximity to the building at the beginning of the turn.
- The pilot did not see the crane or saw it too late to take effective avoiding action.
The investigation identified the following contributory factor:
- The pilot continued with his intention to land at the London Heliport despite being unable to remain clear of cloud.
Ten Safety Recommendations have been made.