Timeline of events for Gillingham helicopter tragedy

Graphic of the helicopter crash at Gillingham

Graphic of the helicopter crash at Gillingham - Credit: Archant

Here is how the drama unfolded.

Thursday, March 13

Around 7.30pm – A loud bang is heard in the Gillingham area and eyewitnesses close to McDonald's roundabout on the A143/A146 hear sounds of a helicopter crashing to the ground. A number of 999 calls are made and emergency services are on the scene.

Around 8pm – Police set up road blocks on the A143 and cordon off the site as debris is scattered over a wide area.

10pm – Police confirm four people on the helicopter have been killed. It is learned that the helicopter was taking off from Gillingham Hall and the hall's owner Lord Ballyedmond was one of the victims.

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Midnight – Air Accident Investigation team members are on the scene and initial investigations begin.

Friday, March 14

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8.30am – Norfolk police hold a press conference and say a detailed search of the area around the crash site is taking place although this is being hampered by foggy conditions with only limited visibility.

10am – Tributes are paid to Lord Ballyedmond by leading officials in Northern Ireland. He was a top businessman and employed hundreds of people at Norbrook in the Newry area.

11am – Local residents speak of their shock, and prayers for the victims' families will be said at a church service at nearby Kirby Cane on Sunday.

1.30pm – Norfolk police hold a further press conference and announce debris from the crash has been found close to the A143. The cordon will remain in place but the road will be reopened as soon as possible.

2pm – Police and Air Accident Investigation Branch officials work towards the removal of the bodies. Family liaison officers work to support relatives of the victims.

• Click here for more stories about the Gillingham helicopter crash

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