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.