Tribute paid to death crash pilot's life-saving work in Warwickshire

By IH Thursday 17 January 2013 Updated: 05/02 08:18

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Capt Pete Barnes, who was killed when his helicopter hit a crane in London, had flown the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. (s)

TRIBUTE has been paid to helicopter pilot Capt Pete Barnes for his life-saving work in Warwickshire.

Capt Barnes died after his helicopter hit a crane on a top of a tower block in central London on Wednesday morning (January 16). Another man on the ground was killed and 12 other people were injured in the accident near Vauxhall station.

The 50-year-old was an experienced pilot and had spent a number of years flying rescue missions with Baginton Airport-based Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

The charity's chief executive Andy Williamson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Pete Barnes was killed in the helicopter accident in London.

“Pete had worked with us for many years and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and with all the families affected by this tragedy.”

The father-of-two had a varied and colourful flying career.

He also flew for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, worked as a commercial pilot, and even piloted helicopters in action scenes for blockbuster movies including Die Another day, Saving Private Ryan, and Tomb Raider II.

When he crashed, Capt Barnes was flying the eight-seater aircraft for a helicopter charter firm. It has emerged he had tried to divert because of heavy fog shortly before hitting the crane on a residential tower block around 8am.

Witnesses said the crash sounded like a bomb going off, while firefighters described the the scene as absolute chaos, but all fires on the ground were put out within 20 minutes.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating the cause of the crash.

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The scene of the helicopter crash in London. (s)

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