Cley helicopter crash: Second aircraft flies off site. Local businesses say “We are open”

USAF Helicopter crash at Cley. Recovery preperations continue.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY USAF Helicopter crash at Cley. Recovery preperations continue. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Andrew Fitchett and Alex Hurrell
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
6:30 AM

The US Air Force have removed the second helicopter involved in the Cley marshes tragedy this week.

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A spokeswoman for RAF Lakenheath said a crew had flown the Pave Hawk - which landed safely on the incident site last Tuesday evening to try and aid its crashed sister Hawk - back to Suffolk.

USAF had been waiting for the “all-clear” to move the helicopter after concerns were raised about updraft from its blades disrupting the investigation scene around the crashed search and rescue helicopter whose four crew members lost their lives in the tragedy.

A no-fly zone is still in place around the crash site to ensure the safety of the investigators, according to the spokeswoman. There is no further information on when the investigation will be complete.

Meanwhile Norfolk County Council has stressed that, despite the closure of the A149 between Cley and Salthouse to protect the crash site, local businesses are still open and accessible.

Businesses in Cley can be reached on the A149 from the Blakeney direction, while those in the Salthouse and Weybourne direction can be reached from the Sheringham direction.

The council has put up new signs to make it clear that, although there is no through-route along the A149 while recovery work continues, traffic can still use the road to reach shops, cafés and pubs on either side of the closure.

Victoria Pryor, owner of Picnic Fayre in Cley, said she had put a blackboard up against the road closure notice at the Blakeney end of the village, telling motorists that they could drive through to use shops and services.

“It was very quiet over the weekend, despite the blue skies and sunshine - there were not as many walkers around as usual. But I think today has been better. Perhaps drivers are getting a little braver and venturing past the sign to the shops and other businesses,” said Mrs Pryor yesterday.

“The message is that Cley is definitely open. Drivers can park in our car park, visit all the businesses and exit using the road to Holt,” she added.

■ An appeal for the families of the crash victims has now topped $35,000 - almost £22,000.

Set up by RAF Lakenheath base resident Caitlyn Malone, the fund has gone from strength to strength after the base began to direct donators to it after being unable to set up its own collection.

Mrs Malone, who lives with her husband Dallas on the base, said the money would be split evenly between the four families of Captains Sean Ruane and Christopher Stover, Technical Sergeant Dale Mathews and Staff Sergeant Afton Ponce.

1 comment

  • The A149 should be opened ASAP. The crash site is nowhere near the road. The americans need reminding just who's country they are in.

    Report this comment

    Lord Elf

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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