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16.01.2013

Helicopter crashes into crane

A helicopter has crashed into a luffing jib tower crane in Vauxhall, London today bringing down its jib. The crane is a Comedil owned by the main contractor Brookfield multiplex.
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This photo was taken shortly after the incident this morning


The crane is located on a new high rise - St Georges Wharf Tower, the site's two crane operators - said to be Richard Moule and Nicki Biagioni - were reportedly running late and were preparing to climb the tower when the helicopter struck. The cab iteself was destroyed and would unquestionably have resulted in another fatality if either of them had reached it on time.

The helicopter - thought to be an Agusta Westland AW109 - exploded on impact and crashed some distance from the crane, very close to the overground rail line to Waterloo Station landing on two cars. Two are confirmed dead - the pilot and another man in a car that was hit by debris - with nine injured, one seriously.

Weather conditions at the time were said to be very poor with the tower and crane shrouded in mist and cloud. At 181 metres and 50 storeys high St George's Wharf Tower - or Vauxhall Tower - is set to be the tallest residential building in the UK.
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The crane later on in the day


A warning was in force regarding the height of the tower crane in the proximity of the Battersea heliport. The pilot who was en route to Elstree, had requested a landing at the heliport due to the bad weather.
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A closer look shows the damaged cab


We will update when we have more information, or please use the comment section if you have any information from the site.
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St George's Wharf Tower last year



UPDATE

Ainscough Crane Hire has been charged with providing the cranes required to bring the tower crane down. It has supplied a Terex TC2800-1 which will be rigged with 192 metres of boom and jib to remove the crane jib and other parts.

The job was due to to being on Saturday 19th January, however with high winds and snow forecast there maybe some disruption.

Comments

Wow, well which risk assessment would have covered this then ?

Clearly the crane has been destroyed, but with a climbing frame in place and given the height of the structure, its absolutely essential that the crane needs to climb down for recovery, yet this looks impossible.

I hope that C&A stay with this story to demonstrate how such an absolutely terrible and tragic event finally gets managed and recovered, the crane seems too high for any conventional mobile crane to recover.

Please also send my thoughts and respects to all who were killed and injured in this terrible accident, may the injured have a swift recovery and may the families of the two fatalities find the strength to carry on. Am sorry, I'm not always too good with words, but I hope you all know the sincerity and concern I feel.

Hope C&A stick with the recovery story, so we can learn from this tragic event here on our doorstep and look forward to some good, focussed reporting.

God Bless all involved

Jan 17, 2013

Michael Brown
As long as the out of service height was given on the warning & the aircraft warning lights were in service it's difficult to see how the constructor can be at fault.

Jan 17, 2013
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