Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The bodies of the four airmen killed in the Cley helicopter crash can be removed from the scene, Norfolk’s coroner has said, though continuing investigations are likely to delay their release until tomorrow.
Police have also confirmed that the cordon around the scene is likely to remain in place for several days, and surrounding roads could be closed until Monday.
In a briefing at lunchtime, Ch Supt Bob Scully said removal of the bodies would “not be a quick process”, as evidence needed to be preserved for the investigation.
He said: “We are asking the public to understand this situation and to have sympathy with the needs of the families of the deceased for a thorough investigation to take place and also understand the need for a thorough investigation to check on the safety of the aircraft involved from the point of view of the United States Air Force.”
Police are continuing to work with the Ministry of Defence and US Air Force as they investigate last night’s accident.
The victims of the crash will not be named until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified, and Ch Supt Scully said he did not know if they had been informed yet.
The site being examined was described as being “the size of a football pitch”, and a strict cordon has been set up to keep out members of the public while bullets from the crashed Pave Hawk HH-60 helicopter remain scattered across the scene.
Police have thanked the public for following advice to avoid the area. Road closures, including a stretch of the A149, are still in place.
Earlier, Chief Superintendent Scully had described the operation as “a challenging, lengthy process due to the difficult terrain and the size of the area needed to be assessed.”
Two USAF Pave Hawk HH60 helicopters were involved in the training activity last night and following the crash the second aircraft landed nearby to assist, and remains at the scene.