A helicopter has crashed into a luffing jib tower crane in Vauxhall, London, bringing down its jib. The crane is a Comedil owned by the main contractor Brookfield multiplex.
The crane is located on a new high rise – St Georges Wharf Tower, the site’s two crane operators – said to be Richard Moule and Nicki Biagioni – were reportedly running late and were preparing to climb the tower when the helicopter struck. The cab iteself was destroyed and would unquestionably have resulted in another fatality if either of them had reached it on time.
The helicopter – thought to be an Agusta Westland AW109 – exploded on impact and crashed some distance from the crane, very close to the overground rail line to Waterloo Station landing on two cars. Two are confirmed dead – the pilot and another man in a car that was hit by debris – with nine injured, one seriously.
Weather conditions at the time were said to be very poor with the tower and crane shrouded in mist and cloud. At 181 metres and 50 storeys high St George’s Wharf Tower – or Vauxhall Tower – is set to be the tallest residential building in the UK.
A warning was in force regarding the height of the tower crane in the proximity of the Battersea heliport. The pilot who was en route to Elstree, had requested a landing at the heliport due to the bad weather.
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