Two people have died after a helicopter crashed in central London today.

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Emergency services were called to the scene, at Vauxhall, after reports that the aircraft had hit a crane and cartwheeled before bursting into flames.

A plume of smoke billowed into the sky above the area this morning.

Fire and rescue services said they were taking “lots of emergency calls” as eyewitnesses described seeing grey smoke towering into the sky, close to Battersea Bridge, in Vauxhall.

Commuter Sherna Noah described seeing a “large plume of dark grey smoke” as she crossed Battersea Bridge at around 8am.

She said: “I was coming across the bridge and basically I could see a few cyclists on the bridge looking towards the water.

“I looked over to see what they were looking at and could see a pall of grey smoke coming from the south side.

“You could see a large plume of dark grey smoke.”

Some eyewitnesses said the helicopter appeared to have hit a crane on a newly-built tower block on the south bank of the Thames at Vauxhall Cross.

As rush-hour traffic built up, the A3036 Wandsworth Road in Vauxhall was closed in both directions between Vauxhall Cross and the Lansdowne Way junction.

People took to Twitter to report gridlocked traffic in the area, with emergency services struggling to get through.

The First Capital Connect train company warned its passengers to expect travel difficulties in the Vauxhall area, although its services were not affected.

Flying conditions this morning were reflected in the fact that London City Airport in Docklands had delays due to poor visibility.

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