A helicopter has crashed in a busy area of London. The helicopter is reported to have clipped a crane, which was on top of a tall building.
Affected area: Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London.
The helicopter crashed around 8am GMT in foggy weather conditions. The helicopter is reported to have been low flying. That is apparently normal in this area. Battersea heli-port is close by. The area is also close to the River Thames.
News is still coming in, but early indications of one fatality were soon upgraded. There were no passengers on board but two people are confirmed dead. One person was rescued from a burning car and has been taken to hospital. Two other casualties have been taken to a south London hospital. It is not known if the crane operator was working.
The helicopter clipped a crane high above the ground. The helicopter cartwheeled as it fell to earth. The crane was left in situ but is damaged. The helicopter and two cars below burst into flames on impact. Flames spread to immediate buildings. A huge blaze covers the immediate area. A petrol station close to the flames was non-operational. A thick black plume of smoke rose into the sky. Hundreds of police officers plus fire crews are at the scene.
The area is close to MI5 headquarters. It has residential high-rise buildings. A large part of the area has been the site of construction. A cleared area of ground was for the construction of a new American Embassy.
Residents hearing a loud explosion initially feared a terrorist attack.
Sky News, is reporting that the safety light on top of the crane was either not lit or not easily visible.
The latest advice is not to walk in the area. The crane is now teetering precariously high over the ground. How this will be rectified in not known.
The helicopter was a twin-engine Augusta 109, which operates with only a one-man crew. It can carry eight passengers. Pilots have reported that the density of the fog in the area would normally limit flying. It appears that protocols may have not been followed. The Augusta 109 has a good safety record.
Tower RNLI, lifeboat service, are now searching the Thames after a reports that a person, or body, was seen in the river.
Update: Police are clearing the area as the crane balances precariously high above the ground. Four people are being treated in hospital and four others received treatment at the scene, for shock.
10:25am GMT, nine people are now reported as injured. One is in a critical condition. Death toll stays at two.
11am GMT: RNLI have called off the Thames search
11:15amGMT - An official, but brief, news conference, reports that the fires are out. There was no person working on the crane at the time of the crash. The two dead include the pilot. No names or personal details have been revealed. This will come later after next of kins have been contacted. The helicopter was on a scheduled flight from Surrey but was diverted. Was this what caused the problem? Was the area unfamiliar? The fog would have added to any problems. Many questions will need to be answered. The pilot may have become unwell.
Police will give further details in time. A full investigation has been launched. PM Cameron has offered his condolences. The emergency services are now working to get this busy area of London back to 'work'.