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Helicopter pilot inquest opens

Peter Barnes Credit: ITV Meridian

The inquest into the death of a pilot killed in a helicopter crash in central London is due to open and adjourn today.

Pete Barnes, 50, from Reading, died from multiple injuries when the aircraft he was flying clipped a high-rise crane on The Tower at St George Wharf, Vauxhall, last week.

Witnesses described the twin-engine Agusta Westland 109 plunging to the ground in Wandsworth Road, leaving burning wreckage and vehicles charred by flames.

The inquest into his death is due to open and adjourn at Southwark Coroner's Court. A full inquest hearing will take place at a later date.

Mr Barnes had been flying from Redhill in Surrey to Elstree, Hertfordshire, but he asked to be diverted to Battersea heliport because of bad weather.

There has been speculation that he could have been distracted as he tried to operate his radio.

Aviation lawyer and qualified pilot James Healy-Pratt told the Daily Telegraph: "It could have taken 10 to 15 seconds to make the change of radio frequency, in which time the helicopter could have flown up to half a mile."

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.

Mr Barnes, a father of two from Berkshire, was described as "a good guy" who was "full of life and great fun".

Pedestrian Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, 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.


Helicopter crash survivor: 'I'm lucky to be alive'

A survivor from last week's helicopter crash in Vauxhall - in which two people died - has today spoken of the moment the craft fell from the sky and exploded right in front of him.

In his first TV interview, Steve Samuels from Richmond speaks about being hit by flaming debris. He spoke to our reporter Ronke Phillips in hospital, see the rest of his interview on our programme at 5:45pm

Crash victims' causes of death revealed

More details emerged today about the deaths of the two victims of Wednesdays helicopter crash. The pilot died of multiple injuires. Matthew Wood, a pedestrian, suffered severe burns and a leg injury.

Today his sister said she'd had the worst week of her life as she revealed while dealing with her brother's sudden death, her house had been burgled. Ronke Phillips has the story


Chopper victim's sister burgled

The sister of Matthew Wood who was killed when a helicopter crashed in central London this week has reportedly had her house burgled.

It's understood police were called to reports of a burglary at Ms Wood's home in Surrey on Thursday night.

39 year old Mr Wood was walking to work when the helicopter crased into a crane in Vauxhall.

No arrests have yet been made

Matthew Wood Credit: PA
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