Two dead in helicopter crash off Flamborough in East Yorkshire, police confirm

A witness said he heard a "crack" as the helicopter crashed

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The Independent Online

The bodies of two men who died in a helicopter crash off the coast of East Yorkshire have been recovered from the aircraft, according to police.

The private charter helicopter was flying from Edinburgh when it crashed near Selwick Bay, Flamborough between the lighthouse and Flamborough Head golf course at around 1.40pm.

It was due to refuel at Humberside Airport before continuing to its destination near Retford, Nottinghamshire.

A huge rescue operation involving the air ambulance, the coast guard and air sea rescue was launched "right away", according to a police spokesman.

"A search was carried out which resulted in the helicopter being located in the sea off the coast of Flamborough near the light house," he added.

The men’s bodies were retrieved shortly after 5pm.

Chris Palmer, 33, a builder from Dunswell, East Yorkshire, said he heard a loud "crack" as the helicopter crashed.

He went on: "I was with my parents, we all saw the helicopter flying along the coastline, we heard a big crack and saw the helicopter start to descend like a plane and go behind the cliffs.

"By the time I got to the cliffs, there was no sign of it because it had gone under the water. We're in shock that it's happened. It's an absolute tragedy."

A Sea King helicopter from RAF Leconfield in East Yorkshire, which was on a training exercise nearby the crash, joined the emergency services during the operation, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

A coastguard officer was winched down to assess the crash site by the search and rescue helicopter from Leconfield, according to the Maritime Coastguard agency, and Yorkshire Air Ambulance crews in two lifeboats also attended the scene.

Humberside Police said the crash site was potentially unsafe due to dangerous cliff edges and aviation fuel in the water and appealed to members of the public to avoid the area.

The accident is the latest in a series of helicopter crashes in recent months. The worst was the Glasgow incident last November when a helicopter on a police operation crashed on to the roof of a pub. Ten people died.

Additional reporting by PA