DCMayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron have praised the capital's police, ambulance and fire crews for their "rapid and professional response" to this morning's helicopter crash in Vauxhall, London.

Two people were killed and 12 were injured when the helicopter crashed into The Tower, One St George Wharf this morning.

Metropolitan Police Commander Neil Basu suggested it was a "miracle" the crash was not much worse, with Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe adding that the Met were treating it as "a major incident" but there was "no suggestion of terrorism at this stage".

London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service also instantly deployed vehicles to the scene after receiving an emergency callout. There were 8 fire engines, 4 rescue units and about 80 firefighters at Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth within minutes at a scene which LFB station commander Bruce Grain described as "absolute chaos". As a result the fire was put out within 20 minutes and firefighters rescued a man from a burning car.

A spokesman for London Ambulance Service said four patients were treated at the scene for shock. "We have treated five patients for minor injuries and three of them were taken to St Thomas's Hospital and two - a man and a woman - were taken to King's College Hospital," he added.

The Prime Minister used his opening remarks at today's PMQs to pay tribute to the emergency services' response. "The whole house would wish to join me in sending our thanks for their rapid and professional response this morning," he said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson tweeted that the Services "responded superbly when once again highly tested" while Labour leader Ed Miliband added: "I join the Prime Minister in passing on my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash in London this morning, and paying tribute to the emergency services."

Part of the crane was left hanging from the side of the residential building, which is still under construction. London Fire Brigade said part of the tail section of the helicopter landed on roof of the building and the main section landed in Wandsworth Road, hitting two cars. The fire from the helicopter ignited two buildings.

The helicopter was on a scheduled flight from Redhill in Surrey to Elstree in Hertfordshire, according to Jon Horne, chief executive of Redhill Aerodrome Ventures, where the helicopter began its flight. A spokesman for London Heliport at Battersea said the pilot had requested to divert and land there due to bad weather.

Posted 16/01/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com