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Beccles: Experts start to recover debris from tragic helicopter crash

PUBLISHED: 10:07 16 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:07 16 March 2014

Scene of the Helicopter crash at Gillingham, Norfolk.

Scene of the Helicopter crash at Gillingham, Norfolk.

©Archant 2014

Experts scouring the wreckage of the helicopter crash which killed Conservative peer Lord Ballyedmond and three others will begin recovering crash debris today.

Two pilots killed in the crash on the Suffolk/Norfolk border were named as Carl Dickerson, chief pilot at Haughey Air Ltd, and Lee Hoyle, a co-pilot at the company, which was owned by the Tory entrepreneur who was one of the richest men in Northern Ireland.

The fourth man who died was Declan Small, 42, a foreman who worked for Lord Ballyedmond. He came from Mayobridge, Co Down.

Lord Ballyedmond’s AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter came down in thick fog in a field in Gillingham, near Beccles, at 7.30pm on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said: “We are plotting the distribution of the debris on the field before removing fuel from the helicopter to make it safe.”

It has emerged that Haughey Air Ltd had lodged a writ against AgustaWestland over concerns about a helicopter it supplied.

The case was lodged in September last year and is understood to have included concerns about in-flight mapping systems.

A spokesman for AgustaWestland said the company could not comment on possible defects with Lord Ballyedmond’s AW139 VIP helicopter but said it was investigating.

Norfolk Police confirmed that the helicopter took off from Gillingham Hall shortly before the crash.

The crash site is an area of between 150 and 200 square metres, including ploughed fields, the force said.

All four people on board the helicopter were pronounced dead at the scene after it crashed in a field containing a wooded area, Norfolk Police said.

A senior whistleblower within the region’s ambulance trust has claimed up to 80 people could have died or come to harm because of delays over the Christmas and New Year period.

Education bosses in Westminster have unveiled a detailed multi-million pound plan to turn around Ipswich’s education fortunes, as ministers vow not to leave Ipswich behind.

Police want speak to 52-year-old Paul John Newall in connection to a case of fraud by false representation.

A Suffolk folk quartet will be performing a Scottish-themed charity concert celebrating the poet Robert Burns.

Tourism leaders in Suffolk have teamed up to entice high-spending younger visitors to the county and place it on their “must-visit” list.

Five-year-old Lola was rescued from the RSPCA after being mistreated by her owner. See what she looks like now after receiving the treatment she needed.

A Suffolk MP inspected a historic pier in his constituency to see the work being undertaken to bring it back into working order.

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