US Air Force Copter Crash Kills Four

A US Air Force helicopter crashed Tuesday in eastern England, and police officials are saying that four people died as a result. USA Today stated that the crash occurred around 6 pm local time (1 pm ET).

The helicopter, an HH-60G Pave Hawk, crashed during a training mission near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast, according to the USAF press release. The statement continued on to say the following:

"The aircraft, assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, was on a low-level training mission when the crash occurred. The conditions of the four crew members are unknown at this time."
While the original statement stated that the condition of the four US Air Force crew members aboard the helicopter was unknown, a US defense official stated that the accident did in fact kill them. The Washington Post reported that emergency workers from the fire brigade, the coast guard, and local police are still working the scene. Police blocked off the crash site earlier this evening because they had reason to believe there was ammunition on board the helicopter.

Initial reports had stated that the US Air Force helicopter may have crashed into the North Sea, but the Royal National Lifeboat Institution confirmed that it did crash on land. USA Today reported that those close to the crash site believed the copter may have hit a bird over the 400 acres of the Cley Marshes, protected land that is owned and managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Brendan Joyce, chief executive officer of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, told BBC news:

"Our immediate thoughts are for the families of those who sadly lost their lives. It is likely the reserve will be closed for at least Wednesday while the incident is investigated."
One resident said he believed the helicopter was flying low, and not long after seeing the copter, he learned it had crashed. Local police haven't released anymore information regarding the four victims of the crash and say they will not until after their families are notified.

[Image by Mike Freer via Wikimedia Commons]