The mother of a workman who should have been in a crane that was hit by a helicopter in central London has spoken of her relief that he overslept.
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.
Maureen Biaginoi wrote on her Facebook page: “Thank God my son is ok a bit shaken but alive.
“He defo has a guardian angel thank you thank you ssssooooo much.”
Pilot Peter Barnes was killed in the crash and Scotland Yard named a second man who died as Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, south London.
He is believed to have been walking to work when he was killed.
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 street.
The crash happened at 8am on Wednesday near Vauxhall Station when an AgustaWestland 109 Power hit a high-rise crane at The Tower in St George Wharf – one of Europe’s largest skyscrapers.
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 they were both late.
Mr Moule told the Daily Mail: “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.”
He was in the basement of the building when the helicopter struck the crane and was evacuated.
He added: “The first thing I did was call my wife Stephanie and tell her ‘you’ll be hearing about this but I’m OK’.”
Mr Biagioni, from Ongar, Essex, told The Sun he was late because his four-year-old son slept in.
His wife Leanna told the newspaper: “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.”
Mr Barnes, 50, from Berkshire, was alone in the aircraft in thick cloud when it hit the crane. It came down on land near to the building, strewing burning wreckage 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.
Witnesses described hearing a loud bang and a flash of light as the twin-engine aircraft crashed near Wandsworth Road.
Video footage and photos flooded on to social media sites revealing chaotic scenes, burning wreckage and vehicles charred by flames.
Mother-of-five Sharon Moore, who lives on the nearby Wyvil Estate, said she saw the aircraft slice through the crane “as if it was a piece of paper”.
She said: “The helicopter did not seem to know which way to turn and then it just dropped, it sliced, screeching into the metal.”
Residents from nearby houses in Lambeth and Wandsworth were not allowed to return home on Wednesday night after debris was scattered over a large area, including on rooftops.
The eight-seater helicopter is owned by Cornwall-based Castle Air but was leased to another firm RotorMotion, which is based at Redhill Aerodrome.
Tributes have been paid to Mr Barnes.
Kevin Hodgson, who worked alongside him on life-saving missions with the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA), said: “Pete was as good a guy as you can imagine and one of the best pilots I’ve ever had the pleasure of flying with.”
Mr Barnes, who also flew aircraft for films Tomb Raider II and Saving Private Ryan, had around 9,000 hours of flying time, including 3,500 hours on the type of craft involved in the incident.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said helicopter regulations for flying over London included “requirements for lighting on tall structures”.
The authority said: “In addition, where appropriate, very tall structures are also notified to pilots for flight planning purposes, as was the case with the
crane that was involved in this morning’s accident.”
The Scotland Yard and the London Fire Brigade are working with other agencies including the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the CAA.
- Related stories
- Helicopter Crash In Vauxhall: Fatalities Named
- Helicopter Crash: Witnesses Talk Of Shock
- Helicopter Crash: Pilot Worked On Major Films
Helicopter Crash: Crane Operators Late For Work – Sky News
Top Stories – Google News