Pete Barnes was alone in the chopper when, as reported in later editions of last night's Evening Times, it clipped a crane and fell more than 700ft.
The AgustaWestland 109 Power hurtled to the ground and exploded near Vauxhall Station, claiming the lives of Mr Barnes and one person on the ground.
Eyewitness Sharon Moore, from nearby Wyvil Estate, said: "The helicopter did not seem to know which way to turn and then dropped, it sliced, screeching into the metal."
A total of 12 people were injured, although police said it was a "miracle" that figure wasn't higher.
It was reported that the crane driver avoided near-certain death because he was late for his shift and had not reached his cabin.
Kevin Hodgson, who worked alongside Mr Barnes on life-saving missions with the Great North Air Ambulance, said: "Pete was one of the best pilots I've ever had the pleasure of flying with."
Questions have been raised over the safety of aircraft flying over London, especially as the number of high-rise blocks increases.
But sources said lights fitted to the crane were in place and were checked twice daily – including yesterday.
Staff at Redhill Aerodrome, in Surrey said the helicopter left the site at 7.35am, and the London Heliport owner said Mr Barnes asked to land at one of its sites.
Captain Philip Amadeus, managing director of helicopter charter business RotorMotion, said Mr Barnes was on a commercial flight to Elstree. He said: "Our main priority now is for the family of the pilot."