Tributes to former Yorkshire Air Ambulance captain killed in helicopter crash in London

The scene after a helicopter crashed into a construction crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south  London.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 16, 2013. Two people died and nine people were injured when a helicopter crashed into the crane and plummeted to the ground. Photo by Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
The scene after a helicopter crashed into a construction crane on top of St George's Wharf tower building, in Vauxhall south London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 16, 2013. Two people died and nine people were injured when a helicopter crashed into the crane and plummeted to the ground. Photo by Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance has paid tribute to one of its former captains who was killed in an horrific helciopter crash in London yesterday.

Captain Peter Barnes, 50 and one of the most experienced aviators in the UK, died when his craft spun out of control and crashed to the ground after clipping a crane on top of one of Europe’s tallest residential tower developments.

The helicopter fell from the sky before exploding into flames and plunging on to Wandsworth Road near Vauxhall station, killing one person on the ground. The victim is believed to be Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, south London.

Six others were taken to hospital – one in a critical condition – and paramedics treated four more casualties at the scene.

Former colleagues of Captain Barnes, who is understood to be a father-of-two, have paid tribute to the skilled pilot, whose lifesaving work spanned the entire region.

A spokeswoman for Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) said: “We are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Captain Peter Barnes.

“Captain Barnes had previously flown with YAA as one of our pilots a few years ago and was very well respected among our staff.Out thoughts and sincere sympathy are with his family and the families of those involved in the tragedy.”

Captain Barnes was also a pilot with the Great North Air Ambulance Service, covering North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the North-East, until about four years ago.

Captain Barnes, who was born in Nottingham and lived in Berkshire, worked for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance up until his death.

He logged more than 10,500 flying hours over the course of his 25-year career.

He set up his own aerial filming and charter company, Helivision, in 1998, and worked as a stunt pilot on action blockbusters including the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day, the Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan and Tomb Raider II.

His TV filming credits included the 2012 London Olympics and 2004 Athens Games, as well as the popular BBC show Coast.