“Crash reminds us how brave our allies are” - political reaction to Norfolk helicopter tragedy
09:34 08 January 2014
ANDREW PARSONS 00447545311662
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock has said last night’s helicopter crash in Norfolk is a reminder of how brave our US allies are as he joined other politicians in offering condolences to the families and colleagues of the four victims.
In a tweet this morning the minister, whose constituency includes Lakenheath, described it as a “close knit community”.
He later sent out a statement saying: “My heartfelt condolences are with the families and comrades of the airmen killed in the RAF Lakenheath helicopter crash. Lakenheath is a close-knit community, and I know that this tragic loss of life will be deeply felt.
“In Suffolk we never forget that the presence of the men and women of the 48th Fighter Wing helps guarantee Britain’s security and shared freedoms. This crash reminds us of the bravery of our allies, in training and in war.
“I also wish to pay tribute to the emergency services, who had to confront both difficult terrain and the presence of live ammunition as they arrived at the scene of the crash.”
At his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons David Cameron paid tribute to the victims of the Norfolk helicopter crash, adding: “details are still emerging”.
While Labour leader Ed Miliband paid his condolences to the families of the victims of the crash.
US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun tweeted: “My thoughts & prayers are with the four U.S. airmen tragically lost in Norfolk last night & their families.”
George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, has sent a letter of condolence to the officer in command at Lakenheath.
In it, he wrote: “On behalf of the people of Norfolk, may I express my deepest sympathy to the officers and men and women of the 48th Fighter Wing for your tragic loss of life.
“Please also convey our deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
“In both peace and war those serving in the American Air Force have been welcome guests and good friends to the people of East Anglia.
“Our thoughts are with you.”
East of England MEP Richard Howitt also tweeted this morning: “Reported the helicopter crew who died in the crash in my constituency were en route to @48FighterWing #Lakenheath . My sincere condolences.”
The Labour MEP, whose constituency covers both the crash site in Cley and the home base at Lakenheath, later added: “This is terrible news and although it is a relief no-one on the ground was injured, it may well be that we will discover that was due to the pilot steering away from the populated village, which would double the sadness felt after such a tragic accident.
“The American forces have always been welcoming to me and to other local community representatives, giving their time voluntarily to support local projects, and there will be a deep sense of mourning today in local communities.”
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman took to social media last night to say; “Thoughts tonight with everyone affected by the military helicopter crash in Cley, as another tragedy hits N Norfolk Coast after the floods.”