Four die in helicopter crash on North Norfolk coast

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Emergency services and military personnel remain at the scene of a helicopter crash on the North Norfolk coast in which four people have died.

A USAF Pave Hawk HH60 helicopter from RAF Lakenheath crashed at the north end of East Bank on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes Nature Reserve at around 7pm yesterday evening, Tuesday 7 January 2014.

Police can now confirm that the four occupants in the helicopter sadly died in the crash, details of the deceased will not be released until next of kin have been informed. It is not believed that anyone in the surrounding area has been injured.

A 400m cordon remains around the crash site which lies to the west of East Bank in marshland between the A149 and the coastline. A second helicopter from RAF Lakenheath was also in the area at the time of the crash and set down on the marshes to try to assist, this was within the cordon and so this aircraft remains at the scene whilst inquiries are ongoing. The A149 remains closed through Cley; access to Beach Road and East Bank is also restricted and there is no coastline access to the crash site.

Investigators from the police and other partners have visited the crash site to assess the scene. Due to the geography and the munitions from the crashed helicopter, inquiries into the cause of the collision, the recovery of the wreckage and second aircraft and an environmental assessment are expected to take a number of days to complete. To ensure the safety of people in the area and those involved in the ongoing inquiries, members of the public are asked to respect the cordons that are in place.

Norfolk Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Hamlin said: “I would like to pass on my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of those US Air Force personnel who have sadly lost their lives in this tragic incident. Emergency services, the military, partner agencies and volunteers have been working through the night to deal with this difficult situation on our coastline and I would also like to thank them for their professionalism and resilience.

“As our inquiry moves on today and the recovery of the aircraft begins, I would urge the public to stay away from the area – the cordon and road closures are in place to allow our experts to carry out these processes safely and there is no risk to members of the public if this section of marshland is avoided.”