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Redhill Aerodrome pays tribute to London helicopter crash pilot
1:24pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
Redhill Aerodrome was this week paying tribute to the helicopter pilot who died in last week's crash in central London.
Captain Peter Barnes, the only person on board, died when his helicopter apparently collided with a construction crane on top of a building called The Tower at One St George's Wharf, next to the River Thames, in Vauxhall on January 16 at around 8am.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating the cause of the crash, which happened in misty conditions and which also killed a man on the ground.
Pedestrian Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, died from severe burns.
He was killed on his way to work.
With wreckage alight in the road below, firefighters rescued a man from a burning car.
Four people were taken to hospital, while five others were treated at the scene.
The crash left part of the damaged crane hanging from the side of the building.
With some 90 firefighters at the scene, the area around the crash, near Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth, was closed off, causing major rush hour traffic disruption.
Vauxhall Underground station and railway station were closed, but were later reopened.
The fire was reported to have been brought under control within half an hour.
The helicopter, an Agusta Westland AW109, a lightweight helicopter with eight seats, came down in Wandsworth Road - witnesses reporting it hitting vehicles and bursting into flames.
There were also fires burning in nearby buildings.
Capt Barnes, 50, a father of two from Berkshire, had taken off in the AW109 twin engined helicopter from Redhill Aerodrome at 7.35am on a scheduled flight bound for Elstree in North-west London.
Redhill Aerodrome said it understood the helicopter, operated by RotorMotion, based at Redhill Aerodrome, was not able to land at Elstree and so Capt Barnes had chosen to divert to an alternate location.
It was reported that Capt Barnes had requested to land at London Heliport, Battersea, because of bad weather.
Redhill Aerodrome said Redhill Air Traffic Control were subsequently told that a helicopter had crashed in Vauxhall, South London.
In a statement issued on the Redhill Aerodrome website by Philip Wright, manager for Redhill Aerodrome Limited, Capt Barnes was described as an experienced pilot and “one of the industry's characters.”
“Pete Barnes was an experienced pilot with both rotary-wing and fixed-wing licences, including instrument ratings. “He regularly worked for RotorMotion, as well as other helicopter companies based at Redhill, and other locations around the UK.”
It added: “He was one of the industry's characters who will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues. Our thoughts are with them and family at this difficult time.”