Tv bosses behind Britain's The X Factor narrowly avoided tragedy when a remote controlled aerial camera malfunctioned and crashed yards away from crowds of wannabes waiting outside an audition in London.

A film crew was shooting crowd scenes outside London's ExCel Exhibition Centre last week (ends07Apr13) as aspiring singers lined

up to audition for the show, but disaster struck when the helicam broke down.

The camera operator feared the heavy piece of machinery would plummet into the crowds and cause serious injury, so he steered the device over the River Thames and crashed it into the water.

A team of divers was then brought in to retrieve the equipment from the river.

A spokesman for The X Factor tells British newspaper the Daily Star, "After the helicam broke, the cameraman steered it over the Thames to avoid it crashing into the crowds waiting to audition. Thankfully no one was hurt and we managed to get a diver to fish the camera out of the river."

Former Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger and Take That singer Gary Barlow are among the judges on the U.K. version of the Tv talent contest.