Construction workers at the scene of the helicopter crash in Vauxhall have told The Huffington Post UK that helicopters regularly fly dangerously close to cranes and skyscrapers.

One of the men, who works on St George's Tower, where the crane which was hit by the chopper sits, told HuffPost UK he was surprised such an accident had not happened before.

"I see helicopters all the time, flying down the river, coming way too close to the cranes. I've seen it many times before."

His colleague concurred that he had also seen many helicopters come dangerously close to cranes. "It's unbelievable what they do."

But they also told HuffPost UK that they believe red warning lights were on the crane the morning of the crash, and that the tower itself also had a warning light.

Police have said they will investigate whether a warning light was functioning on at the top of the crane in Vauxhall, which was hit by a helicopter.


Barney Henderson
Lighting of crane forming part of investigation - police

crane

A view of the snapped crane on St George's Tower, Vauxhall, which was hit by a helicopter

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the construction workers said he believes "the fog will have been the problem."

london helicopter crash

The helicopter crashed and exploded into a road in Vauxhall


Civil aviation expert Chris Yates told HuffPost UK fog could have appeared "quite rapidly and caught the pilot unawares".

"It may well have disorientated the pilot and hence the reason why he apparently flew into this crane at the top of the building," he said, but added it was too early to tell the causes of the crash.

There has been much unconfirmed speculation on social media about the warning light on top of the crane. Political blogger Guido Fawkes' posted a tweet from October where a man questioned the police helicopter service as to why the crane had no warning light on.

Vauxhaull Helicopter crash pictures

James Harvard, who wrote the original tweet, later clarified that he had seen a light on the crane since October.


James Harvard
Subsequent to my Oct tweet about lights on Vauxhall tower crane I did see a light on it, albeit dim in comparison to most one sees.


James Harvard
Vauxhall tower crane lights: I thought perhaps the light was less visible/obscured from the angles I was seeing it from.

A spokesman for Berkeley Group, which owns St George, the development company for the building, said in a statement: "We can confirm a helicopter collided with a crane at St George Wharf at 8am this morning.

"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."

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson said: “Helicopter operations in central London are strictly controlled. Single engine helicopters are required to fly along designated routes, which have been selected to provide maximum safety by routing helicopters along the river Thames, avoiding flying over built up areas as much as possible.

"Twin engine helicopters can operate in wider areas, however all aircraft operating in central London are subject to air traffic control clearance.

“There are requirements for lighting on tall structures. In addition, where appropriate, very tall structures are also notified to pilots for flight planning purposes, as was the case with the crane that was involved in this morning’s accident.

“The independent Air Accidents Investigation Branch is now investigating today’s accident to establish the facts. The CAA will be providing any assistance required.”

SEE ALSO

Most Dramatic Pictures Of Helicopter Crash

Was Fog To Blame? Investigators Start Search For Answers

Eyewitness: 'It Sliced Through The Crane Like A Piece Of Paper'

The top of the tower was partially obscured by cloud on Wednesday morning. Two people have been confirmed dead after a helicopter crashed, one of them the pilot.

Debris landed along Wandsworth Road, on the corner of Miles Street, yards from the Flower Market.

There are strict rules governing helicopter flights in the capital and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) team will want to know if proper procedures were followed.

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    Debris and a burned out car are pictured at the scene of a helicopter crash in central London, on January 16, 2013. Two people were killed when a helicopter hit a crane at a building site in central London and plunged to the ground on Wednesday, police said. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Debris (R) is pictured beside a fire fighting vehicle at the scene of a helicopter crash in central London, on January 16, 2013. Two people were killed when a helicopter hit a crane at a building site in central London and plunged to the ground on Wednesday, police said. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Debris and a burntout car are pictured at the scene of a helicopter crash in central London, on January 16, 2013. Two people were killed when a helicopter hit a crane at a building site in central London and plunged to the ground on Wednesday, police said. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Debris and a burned out car are pictured at the scene of a helicopter crash in central London, on January 16, 2013. Two people were killed when a helicopter hit a crane at a building site in central London and plunged to the ground on Wednesday, police said. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Members of the emergency services prepare a stretcher as they attend to the scene of a helicopter crash in London, on January 16, 2013. Two people were killed when a helicopter hit a crane at a building site in central London and plunged to the ground on Wednesday, police said. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

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    A general view of the scene shortly after a helicopter crashed in the Vauxhall area of central London, after hitting a crane on top of a tower block by the River Thames, according to eye witness reports, Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013. (AP Photo / Toby Scott, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

  • (Credit: YouTube/niczerogoeshome)

  • (Credit: YouTube/niczerogoeshome)

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    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

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    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Emergency services at the scene after a helicopter reportedly collided with a crane attached to St Georges Wharf Tower in Vauxhall, on January 16, 2013 in London, England. According to reports, the helicopter hit the crane before plunging into the road below during the morning rush hour. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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  • Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

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  • Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

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  • Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

  • Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

  • Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

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  • Helicopter Crashes in Vauxhall, South London

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Emergency services at the scene after a helicopter reportedly collided with a crane attached to St Georges Wharf Tower in Vauxhall, on January 16, 2013 in London, England. According to reports, the helicopter hit the crane before plunging into the road below during the morning rush hour. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Helicopter Crashes in Vauxhall, South London

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Emergency services at the scene after a helicopter reportedly collided with a crane attached to St Georges Wharf Tower in Vauxhall, on January 16, 2013 in London, England. According to reports, the helicopter hit the crane before plunging into the road below during the morning rush hour. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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    A group of firefighters examine the scene from an extendable ladder high above Wandsworth Road, after a helicopter crashed into the crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London.

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    A section of the Crane lays in Nine Elms Lane, after crashing to the ground close to St George's Wharf tower building, where a Helicopter crashed into this morning, in Vauxhall south London.

  • Helicopter Crashes in Vauxhall, South London

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Emergency services at the scene after a helicopter reportedly collided with a crane attached to St Georges Wharf Tower in Vauxhall, on January 16, 2013 in London, England. According to reports, the helicopter hit the crane before plunging into the road below during the morning rush hour. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Helicopter crash in London

    A section of the Crane lays in Nine Elms Lane, after crashing to the ground close to St George's Wharf tower building, where a Helicopter crashed into this morning, in Vauxhall south London.

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    Emergency services at the scene of a helicopter crash in central London.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    A section of the crane lays in Nine Elms Lane, after crashing to the ground close to St George's Wharf tower building, where a helicopter crashed into this morning, in Vauxhall south London.

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    Police close off the junction of Parry Street and Wandsworth Road, after a helicopter crashed into the Crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in heavy freezing mist in Vauxhall south London.

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    A general view of the damaged crane on top of St Georges Tower close to the scene where a helicopter crashed in central London.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    A general view of the damaged crane on top of St Georges Tower close to the scene where a helicopter crashed in central London.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    A general view of the damaged crane on top of St Georges Tower close to the scene where a helicopter crashed in central London.

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    Emergency services at the scene of a helicopter crash in central London.

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    Police close off the Vauxhall Cross intersection, after a Helicopter crashed into a construction Crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London.

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    Police close off the Vauxhall Cross intersection, after a Helicopter crashed into a construction Crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London.

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    A small part of the emergency services on the scene at Vauxhall Cross intersection, after a Helicopter crashed into a construction Crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London.

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    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: A police officer stands outside a residential bliock near to the scene where a helicopter crashed in Vauxhall, on January 16, 2013 in London, England. According to reports, the helicopter hit the crane attached to St Georges Wharf Tower before plunging into the road below during the morning rush hour. Two people died and nine casualties have been confirmed with one in a critical condition. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Helicopter crash in London

    A section of the crane (top left) lays in Nine Elms Lane, after crashing to the ground close to St George's Wharf tower building, where a Helicopter crashed into this morning, in Vauxhall south London.