Ex-air ambulance pilot killed

The pilot who died today after the helicopter he was flying crashed in London has been named by sources as Pete Barnes, a pilot who previously worked in the North East.

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Helicopter pilot's final words revealed

The final words of a pilot killed in a helicopter crash in central London were revealed today.

50-year-old Pete Barnes died from multiple injuries when his aircraft clipped a crane at St George Wharf, south London, last week.

Matthew Wood, a pedestrian, was also killed as he walked to work.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) revealed the pilot completed a radio conversation with air traffic control before the crash.

Mr Barnes had requested to land at London Heliport in Battersea.

He asked: "Is Battersea open, do you know?"

After being told the heliport was open, he replied: "If I could head to Battersea that would be very useful."

Just 15 seconds before hitting the crane, air traffic control told the pilot: "Battersea diversion approved, you're cleared to Battersea."

His final words were: "Thanks a lot."

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  1. London

Pilot Pete Barnes speaking to ITV News in 2002

The pilot of the helicopter which crashed in central London had thousands of hours of flying experience including for films such as Die Another Day and Saving Private Ryan.

Pete Barnes, who died when the helicopter he was flying hit a crane on a high building and crashed onto a street in Vauxhall, had amassed around 9,000 hours of flying time, including 3,500 hours on the type of craft he was piloting today.

  1. Central

Helicopter pilot had flying career spanning 18 years

Pete Barnes clocked up 3,500 hours flying in the type of helicopter he was in this morning Credit: Helivision Ltd

Midlands Air Ambulance pilot Pete Barnes who was killed this morning when the helicopter he was flying struck a London crane had a 'flying career' spanning 18 years.

Flying Air Ambulances for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland he had amassed 9,000 hours of flying time which included 3,500 hours on the type of helicopter he was flying today.

His career included work on high-profile film projects such as TV programmes and films including the James Bond film Die Another Day.

On Pete Barnes' Linked In page, a social media site, it states that he attended the University of Derby and went to school in Rutland.

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Pilot saved motorist from floods

Pete Barnes rescuing a motorist at Stanhope Ford

It has been revealed that Captain Pete Barnes, the pilot who died in a helicopter crash in central London this morning, spent time working in the North East.

In 2004 he helped rescue a motorist from a flooded ford in County Durham, while working for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Pete Barnes while working for the Great North Air Ambulance. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

He also flew the Newcastle Traffic & Travel helicopter as the Voice of Metro FM and worked as a helicopter instructor.

Great North Air Ambulance release statement

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.

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

“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.”

– Kevin Hodgson, Director of Operations at the Great North Air Ambulance Service

Crash pilot worked on major action films

The pilot of the helicopter which crashed in central London had thousands of hours of flying experience including for films such as Die Another Day and Saving Private Ryan.

Pete Barnes, who died when the helicopter he was flying hit a crane on a high building and crashed onto a street in Vauxhall, had amassed around 9,000 hours of flying time, including 3,500 hours on the type of craft he was piloting today.

In a wide-ranging UK career spanning 18 years, he had done everything from fly air ambulances to working as a pilot on adverts, TV programmes and films including the James Bond film Die Another Day, Saving Private Ryan and Tomb Raider II.

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