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An RAF Lakenheath picture shows Staff Seargent Afton Ponce, who was one of the four air crew members who died in a military helicopter crash in Norfolk, stepping away from a HH-60G Pave Hawk in November last year.
Seargent Ponce, who was a special mission aviator for the 56th Rescue Squadron, was killed alongside three other colleagues who were based at RAF Lakenheath when the HH-60G Pave Hawk they were flying on a training exercise came down on marshland in Cley, north Norfolk, on Tuesday evening.
Norfolk Police says it has now handed the investigation into the fatal military helicopter crash to the US Air Force (USAF) after concluding the crash was not a criminal matter.
The USAF, supported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), will lead the continuing investigation into the circumstances of the crash.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Dean, of Norfolk Police, said: "As has been the case throughout this investigation, our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the military personnel who lost their lives in this tragic incident.
"Even though our colleagues from the USAF, supported by the MoD, will now lead the ongoing inquiries, we will continue to support their work, engaging with local communities and providing reassurance and assistance where required."
The bodies of a US air crew killed when a helicopter came down on marshland in Norfolk have been removed from the crash site, police said.
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. 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 site at about 2pm after a "complex" recovery operation.
It is understood the remaining bodies have also been recovered from the wreckage and will soon be taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital ahead of a post-mortem.
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."
Police has said the attempt to recover bodies following a US military helicopter crash in Norfolk is underway.
It is expected to take much of the day with the bodies being removed one by one while the removal of the wreckage may go on into next week, a police spokesman said.
Low loading vehicles have arrived at the scene to begin the process of removing equipment, including the second helicopter.
A senior US Air Force officer today paid tribute to four American servicemen who made the "ultimate sacrifice" when they were killed in a helicopter crash during a training exercise on the north Norfolk coast.
Captains Christopher S. Stover and Sean M. Ruane, Technical Sergeant Dale E. Mathews and Staff Sergeant Afton M. Ponce died when their Pave Hawk helicopter came down on a marsh near Cley-next-the-Sea on Tuesday night.1
Colonel Kyle Robinson, 48th Fighter Wing commander, told reporters at RAF Lakenheath, where the wing is based: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of these great airmen. They have made the ultimate sacrifice while training to save the lives of others."
He told their families: "As a husband and father myself, I cannot imagine how heartbroken you must feel, now missing a piece of your family. I speak for the entire wing when I say that we are thinking of you, we are praying for you, and we are here for you."
He also thanked the British authorities for their help in dealing with the crash.
Officers are painstakingly searching for clues as to why a HH-60G Pave Hawk out on a military training exercise in Cley, north Norfolk, crashed into marshes, killing all four air crew members on board.
The search for clues is set to continue for "many days" as police prioritise the recovery of the bodies of the crew. ITV News' Nina Nannar reports from Cley on how the investigation is progressing.
The four service members killed in a US Air Force helicopter crash in Cley, north Norfolk, yesterday have been named.
They include Capt. Sean M. Ruane and Tech. Sgt. Dale E. Mathews.
An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter carries a four-person aircrew - a pilot, co-pilot, and two special mission aviators who are qualified as both gunners and flight engineers, RAF Lakenheath said in a statement.
On the mission in Norfolk last night, Capt. Stover and Capt. Ruane were the pilots, and Tech. Sgt. Mathews and SSgt. Ponce were the special mission aviators.
The four US Air Force crew members killed in a crash on the Norfolk coast last night have been named as:
- Capt. Christopher S. Stover
- Capt. Sean M. Ruane
- Tech. Sgt. Dale E. Mathews
- SSgt Afton M. Ponce
Latest ITV News reports
Round up of the US press on the helicopter crash in North Norfolk.