Former air ambulance pilot dies in London crash

A pilot who died after a helicopter hit a crane on a building site in central London and burst into flames this morning used to work for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Pete Barnes was named as one of two people killed when the helicopter hit the crane on top of The Tower, One St George Wharf, beside the Thames at about 8am.

Cars and two buildings caught fire after the burning wreckage fell into Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth. Eighty firefighters tackled the blaze.

Kevin Hodgson, director of operations at the Great North Air Ambulance Service, worked alongside Captain Barnes for several years, flying on life-saving missions across the North.

Capt Barnes stopped working with the charity about four years ago.

Mr Hodgson 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.

“Over the years he will have flown on dozens of missions, no doubt saving lives along the way.

“Everyone at the charity is deeply saddened at this news.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragedy.”