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Lakenheath/Cley: Second helicopter leaves scene of USAF crash tragedy

PUBLISHED: 12:04 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:04 14 January 2014

The second helicopter at the scene of the fatal crash in Cley

The second helicopter at the scene of the fatal crash in Cley

Archant Norfolk 2014

A second helicopter which landed on a Norfolk marsh following a fatal air accident has returned to its Suffolk base, the US Airforce (USAF) said.

The Pave Hawk helicopter landed alongside an identical aircraft which crashed, killing all four crew members, near Cley-next-the-sea on January 7.

It had not been able to take off until now as investigators were concerned it may disturb evidence which could prove vital in establishing the cause of the crash.

Colonel Kyle Robinson, from 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, where the crew was based, said the helicopter returned to base at 4pm yesterday.

He added: “We have a team of highly-qualified officers working day in and day out to determine the cause of the accident. At this time we can’t speculate.”

The bodies of captains Christopher S. Stover and Sean M. Ruane; technical sergeant Dale E. Mathews; and female crew mate staff sergeant Afton M. Ponce, who all died in the crash, were flown back to the US over the weekend.

Col Robinson thanked UK civilian and military authorities for their help during the investigation and said US personnel had been overwhelmed by support from the community.

“I would like to thank you all for your warmth and kindness,” he added.

“We’ve seen your support in so many forms this past week as the wing has come together to support the families and members of the 56th Rescue Squadron.”

A cordon and no-fly zone over the site will remain in place to ensure the safety of the public, the recovery team and the investigators, he added.

A school near Bury St Edmunds is helping to raise funds to support education in Tanzania through a non-uniform day.

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

Drivers are advised that it is “highly likely” the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will shut during tomorrow morning’s rush hour amid forecasts of 65mph gusts.

A theatre workshop with a difference is making its way to Stowmarket for the first time this year.

He’s a well known television personality, but what’s John Bishop like live? Reviewer ELLIS BARKER headed down to the Regent tonight for the first gig of his three-night stop in Ipswich.

A Suffolk-based charity came together with businesses and individuals in the county to purchase much-needed sensory equipment for a Bury St Edmunds special school.

Warnings issued of the Orwell Bridge’s third closure in as many weeks have prompted renewed calls for a northern bypass to be built.

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