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Funeral held for Captain Christopher Stover, co-pilot of downed Cley helicopter

11:50 28 January 2014

Capt Christopher Stover, of the American servicemen killed in the Cley helicopter crash.

Capt Christopher Stover, of the American servicemen killed in the Cley helicopter crash.

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More than 200 people have attended the funeral of a US helicopter pilot who died in the Pave Hawk tragedy in Cley.

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Capt Sean Ruane, left, and Tech Sgt Dale Mathews, two of the American servicemen killed in the Cley helicopter crash.Capt Sean Ruane, left, and Tech Sgt Dale Mathews, two of the American servicemen killed in the Cley helicopter crash.

Captain Christopher Stover, 28, who was based at RAF Lakenheath, was buried at the Air Force Academy in Colorado on Monday having been one of four airmen to die on January 7 on the North Norfolk coast.

His wife, Sarah, told mourners the short time she was married to her husband was “worth every second”, having celebrated their first wedding anniversary on December 1.

“He believed in a mission bigger than himself, but never played the hero,” she said.

‘An outstanding individual’ - tributes to Captain Christopher Stover

His father, Richard Stover, said the air force had rallied round in support of his family following the crash.

“It’s simply amazing the amount of love you guys have shown. Chris was able to teach and reach all of us,” Mr Stover said.

The academy service drew Stover’s friends, a crowd of classmates and a number of academy professors and leaders.

A noted distance runner, Stover had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Air Force helicopters are used for search and rescue work.

He was a 2004 graduate of Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington.

Memorial services were also held over the weekend for Captain Sean Ruane, in Moon Township, Pittsburgh, and Technical Sergeant Dale Mathews, in New Carlisle, Indiana.

Mourners braved the cold to line the street for the funeral procession of Captain Ruane, 31, on Saturday.

Captain Ruane, a pilot, was buried at Resurrection Cemetery and leaves a wife and 14-month-old son.

“A good kid, a good son and a wonderful brother” - tributes to Captain Sean Ruane

Tech Sgt Mathews was also remembered at a ceremony on Saturday.

His stepfather, Larry Gussman, said he had lived for flying.

“He loved it, every aspect of it, flying the helicopter, being the crew chief, he just loved it, every aspect of it,” says Gussman.

During his career in the Air Force, Dale saved more than 300 lives, according to Mr Gussman.

Tech Sgt Mathews will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on February 5.

‘Amazing man’ killed two months before retirement - tributes to Technical Sergeant Dale Mathews

The Air Force is investigating the crash, which occurred during a night training exercise. The crash also killed Staff Sgt. Afton M. Ponce.

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