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 last 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."