Pilot in Vauxhall helicopter crash Pete Barnes was 'repeatedly told not to take off'

 

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.

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."

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 150 metres south-west of Vauxhall Bridge.

"Immediately afterwards the helicopter began to turn right. At 0759.25 it struck a crane on the south side of the river 275 metres 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 January 16 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.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?