Helicopter Pilot Who Died After Crashing In Vauxhall Is Named As Pete Barnes

16/01/2013 14:24 | Updated 16 January 2013
  • PA/Huffington Post UK

The pilot who died after his helicopter crashed in Vauxhall, London, was one of the country's most experienced pilots, having flown choppers in Hollywood movies and ferried politicians and celebrities around the UK.

Pete Barnes, 50, worked for "boutique" helicopter company Rotormotion and died after trying to divert the aircraft due to bad weather.

The helicopter spun out of control and crash-landed after clipping a crane on top of one of Europe's tallest residential towers. Another person died and several others were injured in the incident.

pete barnes

Captains Pete Barnes and Philip Louis Amadeus of Rotormotion

Rotormotion said many clients personally requested Mr Barnes both for his piloting skills and "his relaxed charming manner."

The company counts David Cameron, the Dalai Lama and Simon Cowell among its regular passengers.

The experienced aviator had flown helicopters for over 20 years and had more than 9,000 hours experience in the air, according to the company.

pete barnes

Pete Barnes was one of the UK's best pilots

In 2004, Mr Barnes carried out a daring rescue of a motorist from a flooded ford in County Durham while working for the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA).

The paramedic who flew with him on that mission, Kevin Hodgson, said he was one of the best pilots he had ever flown with.

Mr Barnes had to hover just a foot above the car, holding the helicopter steady as Hodgson lowered himself onto the roof.

After the rescue he told the Journal: He said: "It wasn't a run of the mill rescue. Some quick decisions had to be made and the timing was crucial, but fortunately everything went like clockwork.

"I've worked on some action movies in my time, but Kevin is a real hero climbing onto the roof of that car - although what the man was doing trying to go across Stanhope Ford, God only knows."

Hodgson, now director of operations at the GNAA, worked alongside Mr Barnes on life-saving missions for several years.

"Pete was as good a guy as you can imagine and one of the best pilots I've ever had the pleasure of flying with," he said.

"Over the years he will have flown on dozens of missions, no doubt saving lives along the way. Everyone at the charity is deeply saddened at this news. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragedy."

Mr Barnes stopped working with the charity about four years ago.

Recently, he had been flying the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA).

Andy Williamson, chief executive of the WNAA, said: "We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Pete Barnes was killed in the helicopter accident in London this morning.

"Pete had worked with us for many years and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and with all the families affected by this tragedy."

He had also previously owned a company called 'Helivision' and among his piloting credits were many high-octane movies including James Bond ‘Die Another Day’, ‘Tomb Raider II’, Saving Private Ryan.

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Flaming wreckage after the crash

He also took part in BBC show Coast and was employed by the London Olympics over the summer. He had also been employed as a helicopter pilot for Sky News.

He also flew the Newcastle Traffic & Travel helicopter as the Voice of Metro FM and worked as a helicopter instructor.

Having flown a helicopter for the Great North Air Ambulance, he was handed a bravery award for his outstanding courage in a rescue, reported The Daily Telegraph.

vauxhall crash

The helicopter was seen cartwheeling to the ground during rush hour

Captain Philip Amadeus, managing director of RotorMotion, an executive helicopter charter business, said the aircraft was on a commercial flight from Redhill, in Surrey, to Elstree.

He said: "Our main priority now is for the family of the pilot and we extend our greatest sympathy to the friends and relatives of those who have died and been injured."

London mayor, Boris Johnson, paid tribute at a press conference at near the site of the crash. As well as offering condolences to the families of those who died he also praised the response of the emergency services.

He said: "It is immensely reassuring that the ambulance, fire and police were able to get to the scene so fast."

A tribute was paid on the Twitter account of the Northumbria and Durham Police helicopter account, referring to his time working for the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

It said: "RIP Captain Pete Barnes. Had the pleasure of knowing him when he flew for the @GNairambulance at Blyth a long time ago. A true gentleman.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Tributes are pouring in for the respected pilot.

Helicopter Crash In Vauxhall, London

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