A toppling 28 tonne crane has come within inches of killing a pedestrian just metres from his work.

Shocked bystanders watched helplessly as the construction crane came crashing to the ground in Oakhill Road, Putney, narrowly missing 38-year-old Bippon Kalia.

The IT worker and father-of-one was walking to his office on Osiers Road at 10am on Thursday when the crash occurred.

He said: "I just took a few steps forward, I heard shouting 'watch out, watch out'.

"The end of the crane came crashing down right behind me.

Mr Kalia, who commutes in from Heathrow and has a nine-year-old son, added: "It took a few minutes to sink in. My life flashed before my eyes, if I was a few seconds later I would have been crushed.

"I could have died it was that close."

Ripping through surrounding trees the huge mechanism damaged a lamp post and paving stones as it crashed to earth, but fortunately missed both Mr Kalia and workers on the site, building two semi-detached homes.

Musician Phil Taylor, watched the drama unfold as a passenger in a car driving along the road at the time.

He said: "The point of it just kind of toppled into the other side of the road where it meets the pavement. If somebody was walking there, it could have been a different story.

"Sometimes a close shave does not feel like a close shave, it was the thought - what could have happened?

"There were entrances from the houses, somebody could have just come out. If I was a resident in that road I would be outraged completely, how the hell is that allowed to happen?"

The Health And Safety Executive has been alerted about the incident and is making enquiries, but is yet to launch an investigation.

Building control officers from Wandsworth Council attended the scene following the crash  to ensure the building was not dangerous."

A council spokesman said: "Operational services arranged for and put in traffic management to close the road. They also re-fixed a lamp column near the site and will be carrying out repairs where paving was damaged."

At the start of the year two men were killed when a helicopter collided with a crane in Nine Elms, while one of the UK's largest cranes has been installed in Tooting to help construct a helipad at St George's Hospital.

Developers of the Oakhill Road site, Concept Eight Architects Ltd, were unavailable for comment.