London: At least two people were killed and two others injured when a helicopter crashed in central London on Wednesday after colliding with a crane on top of a tower near the River Thames during rush hour.

Two people were killed and two others injured as a helicopter crashed into a crane on top of St George Wharf Tower, a residential building currently under construction, near the River Thames in central London this morning, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

"Two people have died and two taken to hospital. Details are awaited," the spokesman said.

The helicopter was reported to have been carrying a pilot but no passengers. It struck the ground just 20 yards from Vauxhall station, a major commuting hub in the capital. The fate of the pilot is not known. At least two cars were hit by debris from the crash.

London Fire Brigade said the crash happened near Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth and 60 firefighters were there. Burning wreckage lay in the road but firefighters have brought the fire under control.

The police said in a statement that they had been alerted at approximately 8 am (local time) this morning to an incident at Wandsworth Road.

"At this early stage it appears a helicopter was in a collision with a crane on top of a building. Met officers, the ambulance service and the London Fire Brigade have attended," the statement said.

Dense black smoke was billowing from the area, close to the River Thames, after the helicopter spiralled to the ground in what eyewitnesses looked like "a massive ball of flame".

The Metropolitan Police have said that the helicopter is not one of their fleet. The incident caused gridlock with all approaches to the Vauxhall Cross one way system closed at the height of the rush hour and Vauxhall Tube station and railway station closed.


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