Jan 17 2013
Two workmen who should have been in a crane that was hit by a helicopter in central London escaped death by minutes because they overslept.
Richard Moule and Nicki Biagioni were late for work and hurrying to climb the crane in Vauxhall when the helicopter clipped the structure and plunged 700ft to the ground, killing pilot Peter Barnes.
A second man who died in the accident was named by Scotland Yard on Wednesday night as Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, south London, who is believed to have been walking to work when he was killed. Twelve other people were injured and police said it was a "miracle" more were not hurt when the helicopter fell to the busy rush-hour streets.
The crash happened at 8am on Wednesday near Vauxhall Station when an AgustaWestland 109 Power hit a high-rise crane at The Tower, One St George Wharf, one of Europe's largest skyscrapers.
Mr Moule, 31, a father of two from Harlow, Essex, was supposed to be at work at 7am with his colleague Mr Biagioni, 30, but both were late, the Daily Mail said. "It was the first time I've been late since starting this job three years ago. I just woke up late. Call it divine intervention if you like," Mr Moule told the newspaper.
He said he was in the building's basement ready to go up when the accident happened and he was evacuated. He said: "The first thing I did was call my wife Stephanie and tell her, 'You'll be hearing about this but I'm OK.' She gave me a big hug when I got back home."
Mr Biagioni, from Ongar, Essex, was late because his four-year-old son, who usually wakes him up, slept in, The Sun said.
His wife Leanna told the paper he phoned her to say he should be dead. She said: "Nicki was at the site minutes before it happened. He gets a lift to a certain level and then climbs a ladder the rest of the way. "If he'd been climbing he would have died from the fall for certain. It's too horrible to think about."
Stunt pilot Mr Barnes, 50, from Berkshire, who has piloted helicopters for movies such as Die Another Day, was alone in the aircraft amid thick cloud when it clipped the crane. It came down on land near to the building, with burning wreckage strewn across the road.
The helicopter was undertaking a commercial flight from Redhill, Surrey, to Elstree, Hertfordshire, but Mr Barnes asked to be diverted to Battersea heliport because of bad weather.