A view of the site of a USAF helicopter crash at Cley-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast, in England, yesterday. Seen in front is part of the wreckage. In the back is a USAF Pave Hawk helicopter that landed at the site.
CLEY-NEXT-THE-SEA: British police scoured for evidence yesterday in a remote marshland area strewn with wreckage and bullets after a US Air Force helicopter crashed in eastern England, killing four airmen.
The helicopter, a Pave Hawk assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath air base, was on a low-level training mission with another helicopter along the Norfolk coast when it went down in a nature reserve.
The cause of the crash, near the village of Cley next the Sea, was not known. The area is about 210km northeast of London. “A strict cordon remains in place around the nature reserve in Cley where a significant number of bullets from the crashed aircraft are scattered across the area,” Norfolk Constabulary, the local police force, said in a statement.
“This is mainly on marshland although some debris which was close to the beach has been moved as it would be vulnerable to high tide,” said Chief Superintendent Bob Scully. He said walking and bird-watching, both popular activities in the reserve, had been suspended for the safety of the public. “(Bullets) are scattered about ... so the site is hazardous to members of the public,” Scully said.
Residents said they were used to the sound of low-flying military aircraft from RAF Lakenheath but had heard an unusually loud noise overhead shortly before the crash was reported. No one on the ground was known to have been hurt.
A spokesman for 10 Downing Street, the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron, offered condolences to the families.