USAF Pave Hawk crashes in England, 4 Airmen killed

Beacon_Training accident chopper

Bodies of US Airmen reportedly still at crash site

Sources on site say training mission may have succumbed to dangerous wind gusts

 

Sources with the USAF have confirmed that all four crewmembers were killed when their Pave Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission near Lakenheath, England on January 7, 2014. The pilot, co-pilot, gunner and flight engineer were all killed. The names of the Airmen have not been released pending notification of next of kin.

According to sources at the scene, the bodies remain at the crash site. EOD crews are in the process of removing live ammunition and other ordinance from the crash site before the bodies can be removed. British and American authorities are currently conducting an investigation as to the cause of the crash. Some sources, speaking on a condition of anonymity, have suggested that strong wind gusts may have contributed to the crash. The Pave Hawk was flying low along the coastline at the time of the crash.

Earlier details courtesy of the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The helicopter crashed at about 6 p.m. local time near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast, a statement from the U.S. Air Force said. The aircraft was based at the nearby Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath, Suffolk County, which hosts USAF units and personnel. The helicopter, assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, was flying low at the time of the crash, the statement added.

Emergency workers from the fire brigade, coast guard and police are at the scene. Police in Norfolk County said they believe there is ammunition onboard the helicopter, and the scene was cordoned off so that experts could ensure the area is safe. It is not yet known what caused the accident.

Pave Hawks — a modified version of the better-known Black Hawks — are mostly used for combat search and rescue missions, mainly to recover downed air crew members or other personnel during war and other hostile situations. They typically practice flying low and fast, often at altitudes of hundreds, rather than thousands, of feet.

Pave Hawks have been deployed in numerous missions, including to Japan in the wake of the tsunami in 2011 and to southern U.S. after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They also support military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

 

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