Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Lakenheath/Norfolk: Colonel pays tribute to those killed in Cley helicopter crash

12:49 09 January 2014

Col. Kyle Robinson answering questions.

Col. Kyle Robinson answering questions.

Archant

A US Air Force colonel has paid tribute to the four air crew from Suffolk killed in the Cley helicopter crash as well as the local community around the base.

shares

Colonel Kyle Robinson, 48th Fighter Wing commander, this morning paid tribute to Captains Christopher S Stover, 28, and Sean M Ruane, 31, Technical Support Sergeant Dale E Mathews, 37, and Staff Sergeant Afton M Ponce, 28.

He told a press conference at RAF Lakenheath this morning that it was too early to speculate on the cause of Tuesday’s crash and that no warning messages were received from the helicopter prior to the incident.

Speaking to the families of the airmen, Colonel Robinson said: “As a husband and father myself I cannot imagine how heartbroken you must feel, now missing a piece of your family.

“On behalf of the whole wing, I would like to say that we are thinking of you, we are praying for you and we’re here for you.”

Work will begin this morning to remove the bodies from the area, which remains cordoned off.

The crew was from the RAF Lakenheath’s 56th Rescue Sqaudron, and Colonel Robinson paid tribute to their work.

“Their mission is to go anywhere, do anything to save lives, whether it be in Iceland, off the coast of Ireland, or anywhere in Iraq, Afghanistan or any country,” he said

“It’s a very small and tight-knit community. They play a small role behind the scenes - a lot of people who owe their lives to them will probably have no idea who they are.

“You’ll have families around the world this morning, having breakfast with their mother and father, brothers and sisters, or their sons and daughters. Members of that crew certainly helped make that happen.

“Their motto is ‘these things we do, that others may live’. And they lived that way, that’s what they do, they were very good at what they do, and they were training to be part of that mission.”

The four crew members had a range of experience, from a couple of years through 17 years, and Colonel Robinson said it was common for crews to have such a mixture.

He added a “specialised team of highly qualified US Air Force personnel” will convene at RAF Lakenheath to investigate the crash.

Asked whether the crew had sent out any distress signals, Colonel Robinson said: “I’m not aware of any warnings that we had. Obviously we take great care to make sure we operate in the safest fashion and all the rules and missions we follow are the standard ones followed by the MOD.”

Colonel Robinson also said the support from the community and British authorities was “deeply heartfelt”, adding: “I can’t really understate the amount of support we’ve received from the local community here. It’s been absolutely amazing, we certainly appreciate it in our time of need.

“So many times we talk about the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. It’s times like this that really remind you that these aren’t simply words - these are thoughts, words, deeds and actions that we see here today.”

Colonel Robinson confirmed it was a two-ship training operation and the other helicopter involved stopped at the scene to lend assistance.

He added: “We’re obviously concerned about them as well as the entire members of 56th community and their families as well. We have a lot of organisations around the base that provide support.

“The squadron has rallied around them at their side and provided them with what they need at this point. We have families making meals for them, taking care of anything they need. Basically the entire base is rallying round.”

There are no further training exercises scheduled for the squadron this week.

shares

3 comments

  • The bbc love to milk a story like this don't they.23 mins local news Wednesday 15 mins Thursday evening look east

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

  • It's always a sad event when there is a loss of military lives, not only in a war zone but also away from a theatre of war. However, what does concern me, is the the amount of air activity over the counties of SuffolkNorfolk now knowing that the military aircraft carry 'Live' ammunition!! mmm food for thought!!

    Report this comment

    Earl of Suffolk

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

  • Cue Americans wallowing in self-pity as usual.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Ballots being counted at Suffolk Police Headquarters for PCC elections

Suffolk has re-elected incumbant Tory Tim Passmore to serve as the police and crime commissioner following yesterday’s poll.

The local election counts at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Ipswich Labour Party was enjoying the satisfaction of victory on Friday after they made significant gains in the borough elections.

Peregrine chicks nesting in The Mill, Ipswich Waterfront

A project to provide a safe nesting place for peregrine falcons in Ipswich has proved a success after images of five chicks were shared this morning.

Corn exchange Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council was left red-faced after being forced to give one of its own establishments a one-star food hygiene rating, it has been revealed.

The Copdock Interchange.

There are delays around the area of the Copdock Interchange following two incidents this afternoon.

The Robert Ransome  doormen tried to prevent drink driver from getting behind the wheel

A 60-year-old man was nearly three times the drink-drive limit when he was prevented from moving his Citroen from one car park to another, a court heard.

Heather Cooper of Haughley Post Office has won the 'Rural Hero Award'.

A Suffolk postmistress has received a prestigious award for her tireless work in the community she serves.

Ipswich Town 2016/17 kit

Ipswich Town have unveiled their new home, away and goalkeeper kits ahead of the new season.

The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk hold a silent protest outside the county council offices, in Russell Road Ipswich ahead of a protest over cuts

Two consultants involved in a “strategic reorganisation”, which saw hundreds of jobs axed at the region’s mental health trust, each received payouts worth more than £200,000.

Students Hannah Davies in a swimsuit, Casey Emblem in jeans from UCS Ipswich take part in a water rescue scenario by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service at Alton Water, highlighting the dangers of cold water.

Brave students from University Campus Suffolk were shown what it would be like if they fell unprepared in open water as part of a safety campaign.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24