A HELICOPTER crashed in central London today and hit at least two cars as it plunged to the ground.

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

A Met police spokesman said: ''We had a call at approximately 8am this morning and we are dealing with an incident.

One said the helicopter appeared to have hit a crane and another said it crashed close to a railway line.

It is believed that the helicopter hit a crane before crashing in a "massive ball of flames", said witnesses.

Reports suggested that the Augusta 109 helicopter only had the pilot on board.

London Fire Service has sent 22 appliances to the scene.

It has been reported that train services at Vauxhall have been suspended.

Services at Waterloo were also briefly affected but South West Trains say they are now running.

A spokesman for London Fire Brigade was unable to give details but said: ''We are taking lots of emergency calls at the moment''.