Air Force to begin recovery of helicopter crash airmen
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[January 09, 2014]
LONDON (Reuters) — The U.S. Air
Force will start to recover on Thursday the bodies of four American
airmen from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed two days ago in
remote coastal marshland in eastern England, British police said.
The recovery of the bodies has been delayed by the scattering of a
"significant" amount of bullets and munitions after the helicopter
came down in a Norfolk nature reserve while on a low-level training
mission on Tuesday evening.
The site, described by police as the size of a soccer pitch, remains
cordoned off to the public following a visit by investigators on
Wednesday evening. The area of flat coastal grassland lies about 130
miles northeast of London.
"Police and other agencies remain on scene today as the
investigation continues and will ensure the recovery of the bodies
is dignified and respectful," Chief Superintendent Bob Scully of
Norfolk Police said in a statement.
"The scene is on difficult ground and the longer term investigation
and recovery work will take many more weeks."
The helicopter was a Pave Hawk assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing
based at RAF Lakenheath air base. A second helicopter taking part in
the training mission landed safely.
Colonel Kyle Robinson, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, described
the accident as a "tragic loss" and said it was too soon to say why
the crash happened despite speculation in the British media that
birds may have been to blame.
"It is still too early to speculate as to what caused the crash and
to make any long-term decisions based on that," Robinson told a news
conference at RAF Lakenheath on Thursday.
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The four men on board were named as Captain Christopher S. Stover,
Captain Sean M. Ruane, Technical Sergeant Dale E. Mathews and Staff
Sergeant Afton M. Ponce.
The Pave Hawk is made by Sikorsky Aircraft Co, a unit of United
(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith and Costas Pitas;
editing by Gareth
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