Pilot killed in London helicopter accident flew for Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Wharfedale Observer: Pilot Peter Barnes, who died in the helicopter accident in London Pilot Peter Barnes, who died in the helicopter accident in London

The helicopter pilot who died in an horrific crash in central London had previously worked for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Peter Barnes, 50, was killed when the helicopter he was flying crashed into a crane and plummeted to the ground in thick fog.

Tributes have been pouring in for the pilot, described as “one of the best”, whose stunt flying had featured in a Bond film.

Captain Barnes was a pilot with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) several years ago, flying out of Leeds Bradford airport on life-saving missions.

A spokesman for the organisation said they were saddened to hear of the tragic loss.

“Captain Barnes had previously flown with the YAA as one of our pilots a few years ago and was very well respected among our crew and staff,” he said.

“Our thoughts and sincere sympathies are with the families of all those involved in the tragic incident.”

Captain Barnes was regarded as one of the UK’s most experienced pilots. He died in the accident on Wednesday last week along with Matthew Wood, 39, who is believed to have been walking to work at the time.

Twelve people were injured and buildings caught fire as burning wreckage fell into Wandsworth Road, South Lambeth.

Police said it was a miracle more were not hurt when the helicopter fell onto the busy rush-hour streets.

The crash happened at 8am near Vauxhall Station after the AgustaWestland 109 Power helicopter hit a high-rise crane at The Tower, One St George Wharf, one of Europe’s largest skyscrapers.

Mr Barnes, from Berkshire, who has piloted helicopters for films such as Die Another Day, was alone in the aircraft amid thick cloud when it clipped the crane.

Aviation expert Simon Mitchell, a friend of Mr Barnes, told ITV’s Daybreak: “As an industry, your peers judge you as well and I think everybody in the industry would accept that Pete was one of the best.

“He was larger than life. Some characters are a little bit introverted and other guys are out there and fill a room, and Pete was one of those guys.”

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