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Northamptonshire air ambulance pilot died after being diverted

A general view of the scene where a helicopter crashed in central London

A general view of the scene where a helicopter crashed in central London

The pilot who flew the air ambulance in Northamptonshire and died in a helicopter crash in central London had been diverted because of bad weather before his aircraft clipped a crane and then plunged to the ground.

An inquest today heard Captain Pete Barnes, aged 50, died from multiple injuries after the helicopter he was flying hit a high-rise crane on The Tower at St George Wharf, Vauxhall, and crashed into Wandsworth Road.

Mr Barnes, a father-of-two, had been flying from Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey to Elstree in Hertfordshire but was diverted to Battersea heliport due to the bad weather, Southwark Coroner’s Court heard.

He was flying a twin-engine AgustaWestland 109 helicopter.

Police, the fire brigade and the HEMS air ambulance all attended the scene and Mr Barnes was pronounced dead by the HEMS doctor, London Inner South Coroner Andrew Harris heard.

Dr Harris said he would review the case in three months and did not set a date for a future hearing.

The veteran pilot, who had 25 years’ experience, had flown as an air ambulance pilot and in several films during his career including Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan and Tomb Raider II.

Mr Barnes, from Berkshire, has been described as “a good guy” who was “full of life and great fun”.

He was born in Nottingham on December 9 1962 and was single, the inquest heard.

As well as flying for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, Cpt Barnes also flew for commercial firm Sloane Helicopters, which is based at Sywell Aerodrome.

Pedestrian Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, Surrey, was also killed in the tragedy as he walked to work. He died from severe burns and a leg injury, a post mortem examination revealed last week.

 

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