It will be scant comfort to those injured and bereaved to know that the helicopter crash in London during today’s rush hour could have been so much worse. It could have hit a train crossing the Thames, or Vauxhall station, or a hypermarket, or even the headquarters of MI6. There could have been more people in the tower when the helicopter struck the crane in poor visibility.
That the consequences were not much, much worse, however, and that so many helicopters, and planes, routinely fly over central London without mishap is no reason for complacency. The proliferation of very tall buildings in the capital, combined with the intensity of air traffic, creates risks. However the debate about airport provision proceeds, the whole question of allowing so many flights over such densely populated areas needs to be re-examined. Today’s crash offered a timely warning.