Two people have been killed and several others injured after a helicopter crashed into a crane on a building site in London.
Click on the image above or HERE to launch gallery
Police said the helicopter hit the crane on top of the building, in the St George's Wharf development in Vauxhall, at around 08:00 GMT this morning.
The flaming fuselage of the helicopter crashed onto Wandsworth Road, hitting two cars and igniting two nearby buildings.
The London Ambulance Service said two people died at the scene and a further six people had been taken to hospital, five with minor injuries and one with a broken leg. Seven other people were treated at the crash site.
Police have said there was only one person in the helicopter and that the other fatality was in the proximity of where the helicopter came down.
Police confirmed that there was no one working in the crane at the time of the incident. The crane driver was on his way to work at the time.
A man was rescued from a burning car by firefighters is believed to be one of six people taken to St Thomas's Hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.
The crash happened during the morning rush hour on one of the main thoroughfares from south west London's trendy residential areas towards Waterloo and London Bridge stations, and was immediately the subject of speculation on the social networking site Twitter.
Eight fire engines, four fire rescue units and up to 60 firefighters attended the chaotic crash site in South Lambeth, and the blaze was put out in around twenty minutes.
Police have confirmed that the flight was being diverted, and a spokesman for the owners of the London Heliport at Battersea said the pilot had been asked to land there because of the bad weather.
The aircraft was originally operating from Redhill in Surrey to Elstree in Hertfordshire. The pilot has not been named.
There was reportedly thick fog in the area at the time of the incident.
Aviation fuel and burning wreckage covered the road as witnesses reported seeing cars on fire and hearing people screaming.
Sharon Moore, 39, was talking to a neighbour outside her flat when she heard the rotor blades of a helicopter. She looked up and saw a chopper careering wildly.
"The scene was so surreal, it was like something out of a movie," she told The Independent. "The helicopter was out of control.
The noise made us look up and I thought 'Oh my God'. It was swerving and then we heard a loud bang as the helicopter hit the building.
Then it just went boom, there was flame and smoke everywhere. It smashed down onto a car and all the smoke rushed towards us. I couldn't tell what kind of car or what colour because it was incinerated."
Four people at the scene were treated for shock.
Local resident Abi Manar, who lives on Walton Close, said he heard the sound of rotor blades shortly before a loud bang. "I was just taking the rubbish out and you heard the helicopter before the bang.
The smoke was unbelievable and it made you cough. It was completely dark, like a bomb had gone off."
London Fire Brigade confirmed that the crane at the St George's Wharf development appeared to have been left "in a precarious position".
Video footage shot on a mobile phone showed an entire road blocked by burning wreckage and aviation fuel.
The side of a building on one side of the street was also damaged by the flames.
John Geragaty, who runs Vauxhall Griffin pub on Wyvil Road, said that the damage could have been much worse had the accident taken place an hour later.
"The traffic on that road at 9am is completely backed up. What happened is awful but my gut instinct is it could have been evven worse if it had hit the road at that time or crashed into nearby flats."
Helicopters in London usually follow the route of the Thames, in order that they can ditch into the river if they get in trouble.
From the position of the crash it would appear the helicopter was following the river route, known as the H4, though it is unclear why the vehicle was flying so low.
It is understood that there were lights in place on top of the crane, which were checked twice a day and had been checked yesterday.
Police said road closures are in place locally.
Vauxhall Tube and Vauxhall bus station are also closed and there are some closures on rail lines into London on the rail network.
London's Counter Terrorism Command has confirmed there is 'nothing to suggest any terrorism link' at this stage.
David Cameron's official spokesman said: "Clearly the prime minister is very saddened to learn of the fatalities and injuries in this accident."
Late Mr Cameron said the rules for helicopter flights over central London would need to be carefully looked at following this morning's fatal crash.
An eyewitness to the crash described hearing an explosion like a thunderclap as he walked to work and looked up to the rotor-less helicopter plunging to the ground "like a rocket".
A spokesman for London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "This is clearly a major incident involving considerable numbers of emergency service personnel.
"The Mayor's thoughts are with the families of the two victims and with those injured.
"The Mayor has spoken with Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe and Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy.
"He remains in close touch with all his Commissioners and he will continue to monitor the situation closely."
View Larger Map
Headlines Newsview all
One of the richest towns in Britain also has the highest number of people having extramarital affairs, according to new research. Wealthy Maidenhead tops a new ... Full story
A trainee teacher hanged himself on New Year’s Eve after a split from his girlfriend, an inquest heard today. Keiran Walsh, 22, split from his partner ... Full story
Late on a dark and rainy night, it is all go-go-go down at White Dee’s house in Birmingham. There is a pan of fish stew ... Full story
Rate this article
MOST POPULAR ON CAPITALBAY
- 'Don't Have Any Parties': Last Words of Mother Days Before Her Son Threw a Massive Party and Drunken Facebook Crashers Trashed Her £1m House
- Woman Driver's Fury After Commons Speaker 'Clipped Her Car as He Parked Outside a London restaurant'
- Swarms of Massive Insects Kill More Than 40 and Injure 1,600 in China
'That's not my wife': Female hiker is dragged off trail and beaten so badly in random attack that her husband failed to recognise her
Tina Waddell, 42, was walking Silver Comet Trail in Paulding, Georgia, USA when she was atttackedUndergoes the first of many corrective surgeries todayIt was one ...
British banker who killed himself ran firm which allegedly helped football star Lionel Messi dodge tax
David Waygood was sole director of firm allegedly used by footballer MessiMr Waygood died in April last year aged 62 after stepping in front of ...
Murder in the golden triangle: inside the country aristocracy where a fatal shooting has shattered the charmed life of Australia's richest farming families
The murder of father of two Glen Turner has thrown a spotlight on the good life which may be on the way out The accused ...
Three-year-old is boiled alive after being knocked out of his mother's arms by a speeding rickshaw and falling into pot of heated sugar syrup outside Indian sweet shop
Three-year-old boy fell into a pot of boiling syrup in DelhiHe was knocked out of his mother's arms by a rickshawThe boy, Dev, was taken ...
Defiant mother-of-five, 33, who was abused on a beach because of her stretch marks posts picture of her stomach on Facebook - and the world comes out in overwhelming support
Tanis Jex-Blake said the group started 'pointing, laughing and pretending to kick me' as she attempted to sunbathe at Alberta BeachShe posted a picture of ...
By Money Mail Reporter Published: 08:03 GMT, 1 August 2014 | Updated: 08:03 GMT, 1 August 2014 ...
Anti-Semitic attacks soar by a third in Britain as Jewish safety body warns of even more abuse in wake of Gaza invasion
304 anti-Semitic incidents reported between January and June in BritainRise of 36 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, figures revealTotal of ...
Trucking giant hit with record $1.3 million traffic fine is the same company that employed drug-addict killer driver
Zaens Pty. Ltd receive biggest fine in NSW history against a trucking companySpeeding offences were committed between February 2011 and March 2012It is the same ...
Virginia Representative stepped down as House majority leader yesterday,Had previously said he would serve his full term ending in January The 51-year-old, seven-term House veteran ...
Cherie was going to admit her daughter Abbey to palliative care last yearAbbey, two, suffers from CDKL5, a rare disorder causing violent seizuresAfter researching medicinal ...