LONDON, (Reuters) – A helicopter crashed into a crane on top of one of Europe’s tallest residential blocks yesterday, killing two people as it burst into flames and spiralled down into rush-hour traffic close to the Houses of Parliament in central London.
Police said there was nothing to suggest a terrorism link to the crash on a foggy morning on the south bank of the River Thames, less than a mile from Britain’s parliament, its secret services headquarters and the site of a new U.S. embassy.
In parliament, later in the day, Prime Minister David Cameron said helicopter flights over a city with an increasing number of huge skyscrapers needed to be carefully examined. “There was a big bang and bits started showering down, then there was an explosion down the road,” said truck driver Ray Watts whose vehicle was hit by falling debris. “We saw the fireball down there and the smoke. We didn’t know what way to run because there were bits coming down everywhere.”
Witnesses said the helicopter hit a crane on top of the as-yet unoccupied 185-metre (200-yard) high cylindrical block – The Tower, One St George Wharf – spun out of control, fell to the ground and burst into flames, setting nearby buildings alight.