Helicopter Crash Deaths Probed

An investigation has launched into the death of two men after the Army helicopter they were travelling in crashed.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed the crash, which took place in Devon yesterday.

Investigators are examining the scene of the crash, hoping to find out what brought the helicopter down near the village of Kingscott, near Torrington, North Devon at around 3.45pm.

One of the crew members was pronounced dead at the scene while the other was airlifted to hospital but later died.

A Swansea coastguard said that two rescue helicopters, from RMB Chivenor in north Devon and Portland Coastguard in Dorset were sent to the scene along with the Devon Air Ambulance.

A statement released by the MoD said: "Our thoughts are with their families and friends at this difficult time."

The MoD will release further details as soon as they become available.

The HT1 Squirrel training helicopter was from 670 Army Air Corps Squardron, based at Middle Wallop in Hampshire.

It is reported that nearly 12,000 homes in the area lost power at the time of the accident.

Witness Paul Herniman, 39, of Flavills Farm in Kingscotts said that there were two helicopters but one of them had got into difficulty.

Mr Herniman said that "one of them was circling frantically" and that it "dipped down below the level of a hill and there was a loud bang".

The crash follows an accident, which occurred last January when two RAF Squirrels collided mid-air at Tern Hill, near RAF Shawbury in Shropshire killing one man and injuring three others.

Rally driver Colin McRae also lost his life on board a Squirrel helicopter along with his son and two family friends when the aircraft he was piloting came down in the grounds of his family home in Lanarkshire, Scotland last September.

The French made Squirrel has been selected by the MoD for its Helicopter Flying School.

It is a variant of the AS350 Ecureuil civil helicopter, it has a weight of 2100 kg and a maximum speed of 155 knots.

There are more than 40 Squirrels on the British register.


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