Monday 20 October 2014

US army Hawk helicopter crash kills four in UK

Published 08/01/2014 | 02:30

Undated image made available by the US Air Force Tuesday Jan. 7 2014 of  a USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter of the same type as  one which crashed at about 6 p.m. local time Tuesday near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast of eastern England . The aircraft, assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, and based at the Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath, Suffolk County, which hosts U.S. Air force units and personnel, was on a low-level training mission when the crash occurred. (AP Photo/ US Air Force Lakenheath)
A USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter of the same type as one which crashed

FOUR people were feared dead after a US army helicopter crashed in eastern England .

The crash occurred in the Cley area of the north Norfolk coast, police said in a statement.

"There are believed to be four fatalities," the statement added, saying a 400 metre area had been cordoned off.

It was believed that the aircraft had been flying from the nearby US airbase RAF Lakenheath when it crashed.

"We are working on an incident," a spokesman at the airbase said, adding he had no further details.

Police allowed residents to stay in their homes but pedestrians and motorists were diverted away as there was live ammunition on board, while streets were cordoned off.

Around a dozen emergency vehicles from the fire brigade, coastguard and police responded to the crash.

Cley artist Rachel Lockwood, from the village's Pinkfoot Gallery, said: "We had never seen so many police cars and fire engines, so went to have a look. Someone said it was a helicopter down, and a coastguard told us to clear the area, saying something about ammunition.

"If it is down on the marsh it might be difficult to find because of the flooding after the sea surge."It was initially thought the Pave Hawk helicopter plunged into the sea around 8pm, prompting the RNLI to dispatch three lifeboats but these were later recalled.

ALARM

It is unknown how many people were on board at the time of the incident, but the similar Black Hawk helicopter is able to carry up to six persons.

A Norfolk police spokesman said in a statement last night: "Police are currently dealing with a single helicopter crash in the Cley area on the north Norfolk coast. There are believed to be four dead.

"Officers are on the scene, with a 400 metre area cordoned off. More details to follow."

The Pave Hawk is generally used as "special operations" aircraft, according to defence sources.

Some residents told the 'Eastern Daily Press' they had heard F-15 aircraft searching the area overhead, and helicopters were circling over the area last night. However no ambulances were reportedly present at the scene last night.

Michael Holden, London

Irish Independent

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