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Two fatal US air crashes in 24 hours

A FIFTH US military personnel member has died after two helicopter crashes on both sides of the Atlantic in under 24 hours.

One crew member is missing after yesterday's incident which saw four colleagues rescued after a Sikorksky-built CH 53E 'super stallion' helicopter used by the US military went down in the sea, 20 miles off Virginia Beach in the US.

On Tuesday, four American servicemen were killed after the Pave Hawk US Airforce helicopter, built by Sikorsky, crashed on a shingle bank in a nature reserve at Clay Next The Sea in north Norfolk.

Captains Christopher S Stover and Sean M Ruane, Technical Sergeant Dale E Mathews and Staff Sergeant Afton M Ponce had been on a training flight from RAF Lakenheath where US Airforce 48th Fighter Wing is based.

Married father of two Capt Ruane's cousin Brian Meyer tweeted: "My cousin died in a helicopter crash tonight. Pretty tore up about this.

"Everyone: thanks for all the kindness. I'll pass it along to his wife and child when we see each other soon."

Mateo Spencer wrote: "Rest in Peace to my friend Sean Ruane, aircraft pilot downed in a crash in England today."

Mrs Ruane called her pilot husband "outgoing and dedicated to others" on a wedding website at the time of their marriage in July 2011. She said: "I am so proud of what he does and that he has chosen to serve our country. Sean is outgoing and loves to spend time with his friends and family. His dedication to others is one of his best attributes. There are very few men like him."

Authorities have said that the bodies of those killed in the crash are unlikely to be recovered until tomorrow.

Investigators spent yesterday investigating debris believed to be strewn across an area the size of a football pitch. A 1300 ft cordon is in place as bullets from live munitions are scattered around the scene and the bodies will remain at the scene for now.

US Airforce 48th Fighter Wing said the helicopter was on a low-level training mission when the crash took place.

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

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