Saved by oversleeping: The Vauxhall crane drivers who SHOULD have been in their cab when helicopter struck it

Cameron announces review of flight rules

Two workmen were last night thanking 'divine intervention' after they escaped almost certain death when a helicopter crashed into their crane and turned into a fireball.

Richard Moule and Nicki Biagioni were late for work and hurrying to climb the crane in Vauxhall when the helicopter clipped the structure and plunged 700ft to the ground, killing pilot Peter Barnes.

A second man who died in the accident was named by Scotland Yard last night as Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, south London, who is believed to have been walking to work when he was killed.

The crash, which happened at around 8am yesterday in heavy fog, claimed two lives -the pilot Captain Pete Barnes, 50, and Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, South London – who was passing by – died at the scene.

Twelve other people were injured and police said it was a "miracle" more were not hurt when the helicopter fell to the busy rush-hour streets.

David Cameron has announced a review of rules governing flights over central London today after the accident.

Yesterday police said it was a 'miracle' that the death toll was not higher.

The stricken helicopter hit St George's Wharf Tower, slicing through the crane 'as if it was a piece of paper' and covering the streets below with burning wreckage, just yards from Vauxhall tube station in south London.

The crane driver Mr Moule, 31, a father of two from Harlow, Essex, was supposed to be at work at 7am with his colleague Mr Biagioni, 30, but both were late, the Daily Mail said.

"It was the first time I've been late since starting this job three years ago. I just woke up late. Call it divine intervention if you like," Mr Moule told the newspaper.

He said he was in the building's basement ready to go up when the accident happened and he was evacuated. He said: "The first thing I did was call my wife Stephanie and tell her, 'You'll be hearing about this but I'm OK.' She gave me a big hug when I got back home."

Mr Biagioni, from Ongar, Essex, was late because his four-year-old son, who usually wakes him up, slept in, The Sun said.

His wife Leanna told the paper he phoned her to say he should be dead. She said: "Nicki was at the site minutes before it happened. He gets a lift to a certain level and then climbs a ladder the rest of the way.

"If he'd been climbing he would have died from the fall for certain. It's too horrible to think about."

Stunt pilot Mr Barnes, 50, from Berkshire, who has piloted helicopters for movies such as Die Another Day, was alone in the aircraft amid thick cloud when it clipped the crane. It came down on land near to the building, with burning wreckage strewn across the road.

The helicopter was undertaking a commercial flight from Redhill, Surrey, to Elstree, Hertfordshire, but Mr Barnes asked to be diverted to Battersea heliport because of bad weather.

It emerged today that up to 40 people who were asked to leave their homes because of yesterday's crash have spent the night away from their homes.

Police said that the debris from the crash was scattered over a large area in South Lambeth and that some homes remained inaccessible.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album