London Helicopter Crash Kills 2 During Morning Rush Hour; See The Shocking Photos Here

By Staff Reporter on January 16, 2013 10:12 AM EST

A helicopter struck a crane atop a London luxury apartment complex. 2 were killed, including the pilot, and 13 were injured as the aircraft fell to the street below. (Photo: Reuters)

A helicopter struck a crane atop a London luxury apartment complex. (Photo: Reuters)

Heavy fog in London has caused a helicopter to collide into a construction crane sitting on top of a luxury apartment complex this morning, killing the pilot of the aircraft instantly as well as another person that was "in close proximity" when the helicopter plunged to the ground below in a massive ball of fire.

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Eyewitness Rezart Islami was working across the street and saw the accident unfold.

"I was standing outside having a cigarette when I saw the helicopter flying super fast towards the crane. The pilot appeared not to have seen the crane because the helicopter hit it and went bang."

Islami described seeing the rotor blade snap off as the aircraft spun violently towards the ground.

In total, the crash that occurred during the London Vauxhall district's rush hour caused two deaths and thirteen injuries.

Police commander Neil Basu responded to the emergency.

"It is something of a miracle that this was not many, many times worse given the time of day."

Due to Vauxhall's proximity to Westminster, an area that's home to the U.S. Embassy as well as the MI6 UK intelligence headquarters, initial reactions assumed the incident was an act of terrorism. However, police clarified that the crash did not appear terrorism-related.

Investigators at the scene believe the pilot was the only person aboard the helicopter. The helicopter was intended to make a scheduled flight from Surrey, southwest of London.

Construction workers at the site of the luxury apartment complex were uninjured. However, it was two vehicles that stopped the helicopter's fall when it plummeted to the ground. According to an eyewitness, first responders pulled three injured people from the two burning cars.

The Berkeley Group, the developers of the Vauxhall residential tower struck by the helicopter, are providing full assistance for the emergency services tending the crash.

"Our thoughts at this time are with the friends and families of those killed in this tragic incident," a Berkeley Group spokeman said.

Beyond the helicopter, the structural integrity of the crane that was struck has been compromised as well. Firefighters are working to make the mangled crane safe.

While many investigators conclude the tragedy was caused by heavy fog, aviation security expert Chris Yates told CNN that there will be questions regarding whether the helicopter should have flown in those morning conditions at all.

What's more, Yates commented that helicopters should not fly within 500 feet of tall structures in Central London in the first place.

The UK Department for Transport will send a team from the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau to learn more about the events leading to the crash.

Be sure to see the aftermath of the tragic London accident in the images below.

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