Norfolk helicopter crash: Four feared dead

Police officer at a roadblock near the helicopter crash sceneFour people are feared dead in a helicopter crash in a remote part of Norfolk.

The civilian aircraft with four people on board crashed in Gillingham, near Beccles, at about 19:30 GMT, police said.

Emergency services remain on scene and a cordon around the site is in place.

It is not known what caused the crash but witnesses reported fog in the area at the time and said the helicopter crashed very soon after taking off.

Police said they would not release further details of the victims until their next-of-kin had been informed.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it was called at 19:45 to reports of a helicopter crash.

‘Big bang’

In a statement it 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 service vehicles at the scene of the helicopter crash Emergency service vehicles remain at the scene hours after the crash

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

Gillingham is a small village in the south of Norfolk with a population of about 650.

James Avery, 34, from Great Yarmouth, said he was sitting on a bench drinking tea with a friend when he heard the helicopter take off.

He said: “I was outside McDonald’s in Beccles and heard the helicopter take off from across the road.

“It was flying low and no more than 30 seconds later I heard a big bang followed by the sound of the turbine engine quickly stopping.

“It was like a whistling sound.

“Me and a friend ran across the road to the field where we thought it may have crashed but with the heavy fog, we were unable to see much of anything.

“There were some guys on scooters who were already in the field. So we just went back to McDonald’s and got the attendant to ring the emergency services.”

‘Very foggy’

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.”

Roland Bronk, owner of The Swan House inn and restaurant in Beccles, said it had been “very foggy” in the area.

The site of the crash is about 45 miles from where four crew members died when a US military helicopter crashed in Norfolk on a training mission in a nature reserve in Cley next the Sea, Norfolk, in January.

Sourced by BBC News

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