THE brother and partner of the former air ambulance pilot killed in a helicopter crash in central London said it would have been his instinct to do whatever he could to minimise casualties.
Captain Pete Barnes, who flew with the Great North Air Ambulance Service and Yorkshire Air Ambulance, as well as being a stunt pilot in a string of Hollywood films, was killed after his helicopter collided with a crane and crashed on Wednesday (January 16).
His brother, Chris, from Nottingham, paid tribute to his "good guy" brother, who was a highly experienced pilot with 25 years’ experience.
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He said: “It’s a matter of instinct, it’s what pilots do. He had 25 years and 10,500 hours experience. He was very good at what he did.
Capt Barnes, who was 50, leaves behind his partner Rebecca Dixon and their two children, 12-year-old Alexandra and Freddie, eight.
His brother added: “He was outgoing, very personable. A good-looking guy with an irrepressible smile. When he walked into a room you knew he was there, he lit up a room. He was a good guy.”
The Agusta (CORR) 109 helicopter, bound for Elstree studios in Hertfordshire, crashed after Capt Barnes had made plans to land at a central London heliport because of poor weather conditions.
Matthew Wood, 39, from Sutton, in south London, was also killed as he walked to work at a nearby pest control company.
Twelve people were injured, but the helicopter crashed yards from the busy transport hub Vauxhall Station and police said the number of casualties could have been much higher.
Mr Barnes added: “Our condolences go out to the family of the other man who was killed, that’s the last thing that my brother would have wanted to happen.”
Ms Dixon has also paid tribute to Capt Barnes.
She told the Evening Standard: “Obviously, he would have been frantic and the lives of others would have been at the forefront of his mind.
“It sums up the man. I find it very comforting and so do the children.”
His brother said that lessons must be learnt from the crash and rules around the construction of skyscrapers in London may need to be tightened.
He said: “All we can say is that something’s got to be learnt from this. We’ve got to learn from a tragic accident like this.”