A pilot who was killed after his helicopter crashed into a crane in central London had been advised not to embark on the journey because of poor visibility.

Pete Barnes, 50, died from multiple injuries when the aircraft clipped the high-rise crane on The Tower at St George Wharf, Vauxhall, south London, last week as he was on his way to pick up a client for a commercial flight.

pete barnes

Pete Barnes was one of the UK's best pilots

Pedestrian Matthew Wood, 39, was also killed as he walked to work.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) revealed the client had suggested to the pilot that he should postpone the journey because of poor visibility.

The report said: "At 0718hrs, the client called the pilot to discuss the weather. The pilot said he thought the weather might clear earlier than forecast. The client said he would drive to Elstree and call the pilot to keep him advised.

"At 0731hrs, having noticed how poor the weather was during his journey, the client called the pilot to suggest that he did not take off until he (the client) had reached Elstree and observed the weather. The pilot replied that he was already starting the engines.

"The client stated that he repeated his suggestion that the pilot should not take off."

Details of text messages sent and received by the pilot were also revealed. At 6.30am he told the client: "Weather OK up north but freezing fog at Elstree and Luton not clearing between 8-10am I've got same at Redhill keep you posted."

He sent the client another message at 7.29am which stated: "I'm coming anyway will land in a field if I have to."

Another pilot, who was aware of the journey planned by Mr Barnes, sent him a message which read: "Give me a call as I have checked weather and freezing fog around at the moment."

helicopter crash london

The scene immediately after the helicopter crashed

The report included details of a radio conversation between the pilot and air traffic control which ended seven seconds before the crash.

Mr Barnes requested to land at London Heliport in Battersea.

He asked: "Is Battersea open, do you know?"

After being told the heliport was open, he replied: "If I could head to Battersea that would be very useful."

Just 15 seconds before hitting the crane, air traffic control told the pilot: "Battersea diversion approved, you're cleared to Battersea."

His final words were: "Thanks a lot."

The report stated: "This exchange ended at 0759.18 when G-CRST (the helicopter) was approximately 150m south-west of Vauxhall Bridge.

helicopter wreckage

Wreckage from the crashed helicopter

"Immediately afterwards the helicopter began to turn right. At 0759.25 it struck a crane on the south side of the river 275m from the south-west end of Vauxhall Bridge."

The aircraft had taken off from Redhill, Surrey, and was travelling to collect the client from Elstree, Hertfordshire, on 16 January to take him and another passenger to the North of England.

Mr Barnes, a father of two from Berkshire, had 25 years' flying experience. He had flown as an air ambulance pilot and in several films during his career including Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan and Tomb Raider II.

Pedestrian Mr Wood, from Sutton, Surrey, died from severe burns and a leg injury.

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  • Pete Barnes, 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 fo

    Pete Barnes, 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.

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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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    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Thames River police patrol 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. Two people died and nine casualties have been confirmed with one in a critical condition. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/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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    The scene 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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    Debris and a burned out car are pictured at the scene of a helicopter 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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    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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    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

    Helicopter Crashes in Central London Credit Victor Jimenez

  • 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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  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    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.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    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.

  • Helicopter Crashes in Vauxhall, South London

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Fog surrounds a damaged crane attached to St Georges Wharf Tower after a helicopter reportedly collided with it, 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 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.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    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.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    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.

  • Helicopter crash in London

    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.

  • Helicopter Crashes in Vauxhall, South London

    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.