A helicopter carrying four U.S. Airforce crewmembers crashed on Tuesday evening – killing all four on board.
The team was on a training mission on the eastern coast of England, when the HH-60G Pave Hawk went down in the Cley Marshes nature reserve, located in Norfolk. The HH-60 is an updated version of the Army’s Black Hawk.
The HH-60 was with the 48th Fighter Wing at the Royal Air Force base at Lakenheath, in Suffolk.
The USAF said in a brief statement that the crash occurred about 6 p.m. (1 p.m. ET), though Norfolk police reported it happened about 7 p.m. The local fire department said the first rescue unit arrived at 7:53 p.m.
Tuesday evening a Pentagon official confirmed that all four crewmembers had died in the crash, the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press reported.
Residents, as well as officials believe that since the helicopter went down in the bird sanctuary, chances are it hit a bird or flock of birds, which might have caused them to crash. The nature reserve sanctuary is where geese and hundreds of other waterfowl migrate from colder areas such as Greenland and Iceland.
The nature reserve, England’s first, has not been open due to the recent flooding and storms the country has seen in the past few days.
One resident told the BBC that he managed to get a video of two military aircraft flying “extremely low” about two hours before the crash.
The HH-60G Pave Hawk is used for search and rescue missions and to remove combat forces from hostile areas. It’s also used for medical evacuation, disaster response and humanitarian assistance.
RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England.
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