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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Former Cumbria air ambulance pilot dies in London helicopter crash

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Cumbria air ambulance helicopter pilot who died after a crash in London.

Two people died and several were injured when the helicopter crashed after the pilot, Pete Barnes, attempted to divert due to bad weather.

Up until four years ago, Mr Barnes had worked as a pilot with the Great North Air Ambulance service, which operates across Cumbria.

The helicopter spun out of control and crash-landed after clipping a crane on top of one of Europe's tallest residential towers yesterday.

It fell from the sky before exploding into flames, plunging on to Wandsworth Road near Vauxhall station.

The owners of London Heliport at Battersea said they received a request via Heathrow air traffic control from the pilot asking to divert due to bad weather.

Police said the helicopter was on a scheduled flight from Redhill, Surrey, to Elstree, Hertfordshire.

The two people killed were the pilot and someone on the ground, emergency services said.

Firefighters rescued a man from a burning car and brought a blaze caused by the crash under control.

Kevin Hodgson, director of pperations at the Great North Air Ambulance, said: “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.”

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