Four killed in US military helicopter crash in Norfolk

Four people have been killed their Pave Hawk military helicopter crashed at Cley in North Norfolk. The aircraft was based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

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Nature reserve could create memorial to helicopter crash victims

The north Norfolk nature reserve where a military helicopter crashed last week could create a memorial to the four US servicemen who lost their lives.

The four men and one woman - Capt Christopher Stover, Capt Sean Ruane, Tech Sgt Dale Mathews and Staff Sgt Afton Ponce - were based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

Today, Bernard Bishop, Norfolk Wildlife Trust's warden at Cley Marshes where the crash happened, said he thought it was fitting that a memorial should be created at the nature reserve.

"Families of the lost air personnel will want to come back and see the site," he said.

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Prayers for helicopter dead across the Diocese

The helicopter crash site at Cley

Prayers are to be said in churches across the Norwich Diocese today for those affected by helicopter crash in which four aircrew died at Cley-next-the-Sea in Norfolk on Tuesday.

The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, will join the congregation of St Nicholas' Church, Salthouse near the crash site for their service.

Candles will be lit in memory of the four crew members who died, and prayers will be said for the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives as well as for the people of Salthouse and Cley and for the emergency services.

Speaking on behalf of the Bishop of Norwich, who is currently away, the Bishop of Lynn said, "We have all been shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of the four crew members involved in Tuesday's crash. "

"Words can be of little help at this time to the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives, but in services across the Diocese we will be remembering them in our prayers this Sunday."

Road near helicopter crash to remain closed

The helicopter crash site at Cley

Norfolk Police say that, as military personnel continue their work at the site of the helicopter crash near Cley-next-the-Sea, the police cordon around the scene and the closure of the A149 from Salthouse to Old Woman's Lane is expected to remain in place until Monday January 20th.

The police statement said: "We would like to thank the local community and anyone wishing to use the marshlands for their patience and understanding in dealing with this local disruption."

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New pictures released of dead aircrew

Captain Christopher S. Stover Credit: Stover family

A statement was released today by the family of one of the dead aircrew, Captain Chris Stover:

"On behalf of the Stover family, my wife, my daughter and my daughter-in-law, and I want to express our deepest appreciation of the support and prayers we have received from our extended family, friends, co-workers and people that knew Chris."

Captain Christopher S. Stover and his wife Sarah Credit: Stover family

"Chris was doing what he truly enjoyed, flying. Chris touched so many lives and left everyone better for it. We are proud of his service to our country. We all miss him so very much."

Staff Sgt. Afton Ponce, walks from an HH-60G Pave Hawk just after landing Credit: US Airforce

Investigation into crash likely to take weeks

The bodies of the four aircrew who died when their helicopter crashed on the North Norfolk coast have now been removed from the scene.

Tributes to the four Capt Christopher Stover, Capt Sean Ruane Staff Sgt Afton Ponce, and Technical Sgt Dale Mathews have been laid outside the gates of RAF Lakenheath where they were based.

The investigation into exactly what cashed the crash at Cley-next-the-Sea on Tuesday evening is likely to take several weeks. Kate Prout reports.

The bodies of the US aircrew removed from crash site

The bodies of the US aircrew are removed from the crash site Credit: Jason Bye

The bodies of a US air crew killed when a helicopter came down on marshland in Norfolk have now been removed from the crash site, police have confirmed.

Captains Christopher S. Stover and Sean M. Ruane and Technical Sergeant Dale E. Mathews died when their Pave Hawk helicopter came down on a marsh near Cley-next-the-Sea on Tuesday night. Their female crew mate Staff Sergeant Afton M. Ponce was also killed in the crash.

A private ambulance was seen removing the first two bodies from the marsh at about 2pm on Thursday after a "complex" recovery operation.

It is understood the remaining bodies have also been recovered and will be taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital ahead of a post-mortem.

Norfolk Police said it had now handed the investigation over to the US Air Force as there was no evidence that the crash was a criminal matter.

The USAF, supported by the Ministry of Defence, will lead the continuing investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said she had notified the Lord Chancellor of the incident, as required by law.

She added that because the deceased were associated with a "visiting force" she would not be conducting an inquest into their deaths.

No Mayday message from helicopter

No mayday message was sent by the US Air Force helicopter which crashed inNorfolk killing all four on board.

Colonel Kyle Robinson, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk said there was no emergency message as he paid tribute to the dead servicemen.

Asked if emergency warnings were made in the moments before the HH-60G PaveHawk went down, Col Robinson said: "Not that I'm aware."

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