A helicopter crashed into a crane on top of one of Europe’s tallest residential blocks on Wednesday, killing two people as it burst into flames and spiraled down into rush-hour traffic close to the Houses of Parliament in central London.
Police said there was nothing to suggest a terrorism link to the crash on a foggy morning on the south bank of the River Thames, less than a mile from Britain’s parliament, its secret services headquarters and the site of a new U.S. embassy.
In parliament, later in the day, Prime Minister David Cameron said helicopter flights over a city with an increasing number of huge skyscrapers needed to be carefully examined.
“There was a big bang and bits started showering down, then there was an explosion down the road,” said truck driver Ray Watts whose vehicle was hit by falling debris.
“We saw the fireball down there and the smoke. We didn’t know what way to run because there were bits coming down everywhere.”
Ecuador is ready to negotiate over the fate of Julian Assange if Britain withdraws a threat to raid its embassy in London where the WikiLeaks founder has sought refuge, President Rafael Correa said on Tuesday.
Ecuador was incensed by a veiled British threat to enter the embassy to arrest the 41-year-old former computer hacker, who is trying to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.
Correa has offered Assange asylum and told Britain to let him leave the embassy and fly to the South American country. The leftist leader said Assange, who has been in the building for nine weeks, was welcome to stay there “indefinitely,” but also said he was open to discussions.
“Despite that rude, impertinent and unacceptable remark we’re still open to dialogue,” Correa told reporters in the coastal city of Guayaquil.
“We don’t expect an apology, but of course we expect Britain to retract the extremely serious mistake they made when they issued the threat that they could violate our diplomatic mission to arrest Mr. Julian Assange.”