UK & World News

  • 14 March 2014, 6:28

Norfolk Helicopter Crash: Four People Killed

Four people have been killed after a civilian helicopter crashed in Norfolk, police have confirmed.

Officers were called to the scene in Gillingham, near Beccles, at around 7.30pm, and after carrying out a search the crash site was located.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: "It's a civilian helicopter, and there were four occupants on board who are all thought to have died in the crash."

Inspector Louis Provartsaid emergency services were alerted after people living near the crash reported hearing a loud bang.

"Emergency services are working together in difficult conditions to secure the scene and carry out an initial investigation into the circumstances," he said.

"Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of those who have sadly lost their lives this evening."

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it has sent three ambulances, a rapid response unit, two senior officers and two doctors to the scene.

A spokesperson said: "Sadly, it is believed that four people in the helicopter are believed to have died in the crash.

"Ambulance resources have now been stood down from the scene. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives tonight."

Emergency services remain on the scene and a cordon has been put up.

Sky sources said a civilian helicopter made by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland was involved, not a military aircraft.

Senior management at Norbrook Laboratories, in Newry, Northern Ireland, were "lending assistance".

The helicopter was on the way to Northern Ireland when the accident took place and Norfolk police have been in contact with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

It was unclear whether fog, which had affected the area earlier on Thursday, was a factor in the crash.

Roland Bronk, owner of The Swan House restaurant in Beccles, said it was "very foggy" in the area at the time of the crash.

Taxi driver Mark Murray, 22, from Beccles, said: "There is a large stately home nearby and you often see helicopters coming and going from there.

"When they have a game shoot the guests often all arrive in separate helicopters. We don't know if that is linked, but that's the only helicopter activity we see in this area."

The site is just 45 miles from Cley next the Sea, where four US airmen were killed in January when their Pave Hawk military helicopter came down in a marsh.

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it will be sending a team to investigate.

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