LONDON, UK — A helicopter crash in Vauxhall, central London, during the morning rush hour has killed two people, according to police reports.
A fire official told the BBC that one of the dead had been on board the helicopter. Reports said that the helicopter pilot was among the dead.
The helicopter hit a crane mounted on a skyscraper in misty conditions, sending both crashing to the ground as fuel spilled along the street.
Video footage showed flaming debris on the ground in the Vauxhall district of south London, close to the headquarters of the British spy agency MI6.
Prime Minister David Cameron led condolences for those killed and hurt in the crash and told parliament that a review of flights over central London would be part of the investigation.
London Mayor Boris Johnson tweeted that he was "very saddened to learn of the fatalities & injuries in today's helicopter crash. My thoughts are with the victims & their families."
Kate Hoey, a lawmaker who represents the area where the accident occured, called for an "inquiry into the increasing numbers of helicopters flying around London" through a skyline that's increasingly populated by high rise buildings.
Reports suggest the crash helicopter was trying to navigate through London using the nearby Thames river, a popular route for commercial aircraft that offers a relatively clear space to ditch in case of emergency.
Helicopter journeys over the center of London are relatively common, but coordinated tightly by air traffic controllers. UK Civil Aviation Authority Statistics show the number of daily flights last year varied between eight and 130, including trips made by emergency services helicopters.
“We have rules and there are procedures in place for helicopter flight,” Paul Beaver, a defense expert, told the Press Association. “It’s much more challenging in reduced visibility. It’s very much up to the pilot to fly the right route and do the right things.”
Officials said the disaster is unrelated to the spy agency headquarters, The New York Times reported.
Nine others were hurt, including one man rescued from a burning car by firefighters and taken to nearby St. Thomas' Hospital.
The Tube and railway stations were closed.
The BBC reported that terrorism did not appear to be likely.
Nicky Morgan, a lawmaker who was walking toward Vauxhall, told the BBC that she heard a huge explosion shortly before 8 a.m. local time.
People claiming to have witnessed the crash took to social media in the aftermath. Nic Walker's photo of the wreckage, posted to Twitter, has been widely used by the media:
A helicopter clipped the crane at St George’s wharf and crashed onto the street outside my house. — Nic Walker (@nic0) January 16, 2013
London 24 compiled a list of immediate reactions to the crash.