The pilot who died in a helicopter crash in central London has been diverted because of bad weather, before his aircraft clipped a crane and fell to the ground, an inquest heard today.
Peter Barnes was an experienced pilot who had flown with Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland air ambulance. The 50-year-old was born in Nottingham.
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.
More tributes have been paid to Pete Barnes, the pilot who died when the helicopter he was flying crashed in London yesterday morning.
Another man also lost his life at the scene.
Mr Barnes worked for air ambulances in the Midlands and was described as one of the most experienced pilots in the country.
Rajiv Popat reports.
Investigators are piecing together the final moments of a helicopter flight which crashed in South London yesterday morning. The site at Vauxhall remains sealed off.
Aviation expert Dr Simon Mitchell, a friend of pilot Pete Barnes who died in the crash yesterday in central London, when his helicopter hit a crane, spoke to ITV Daybreak.
Eyewitness Paul Robinson witnessed the incident yesterday in Central London when a helicopter collided with a high rise crane.
He said he was 'shook up' and his first reaction was to run away from the scene.
Two crane drivers told the Daily Mail that they were lucky to be alive after over sleeping, and missing the crash.
Patrick Banks, a close friend of Captain Pete Barnes, told ITV London that friends will "rally round" the family of the late pilot.
"He was such a genuinely nice guy," said Mr Banks.
"He'd been all over the world flying all sorts of aircraft, in particular helicopters."
The AA president Edmund King has paid tribute to the Midlands Air Ambulance killed this morning calling him a 'dedicated pilot'.
Mr King added that he was 'instrumental in helping road safety' as he flew air ambulances at the time supported by the AA.
The Automobile Association president also commended one of his rescues in 2004 when a motorist was saved from the top of his car in a flooded ford in County Durham.
Mr Barnes was also once the pilot of Newcastle Traffic and Travel helicopter as the voice of Metro FM.
A racing driver has paid tribute on Twitter to the Midlands Air Ambulance pilot killed this morning when the helicopter he was flying crashed into a London crane.
Jolyon Palmer who competes in the Formula One feeder GP2 series said Mr Barnes saved his life in 2007.
The racing driver tweeted: Pete Barnes helped save my life in 2007 after I had a serious quad bike accident. Extremely sad news today."
Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan says she "heard an almighty bang" and "saw clouds of thick black smoke" as the helicopter crashed into a crane in South London this morning.
The MP was walking towards Vauxhall tube station, when the accident happened.
"Ms Morgan says she "saw clouds and clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the ground" and that initial thoughts were that a bomb had exploded."