Around 7pm on the night of Tuesday 7th January 2014, a U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter belonging to the 56th Rescue Squadron (56 RQS), of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, England, crashed off the Norfolk coast on a marsh at Cley-next-the-Sea during a routine training mission. All four crewmen were killed. At the current time investigators probe whether a bird strike was to blame. Local police cordoned off the area as there was said to be live ammunition onboard at the time of the crash, I believe it was .50 caliber.

When I heard this news, the day after it happened, I was shocked and quite upset. The Pave Hawks were a fairly common sight in my area, sometimes flying in pairs and sometimes one on its own. I have taken a few photos of them (below) and it's always an honor for me to see them. They do indeed usually fly over fast and low, so low in fact, that, if they are banking slightly towards me when flying across my line-of-sight, you can see right through them if they have both side sliding doors open. Anyone who's anyone that knows me knows that I love the U.S., I love the military, therefore I love the U.S. military. I also love helicopters, and military helicopters especially. The Black Hawk, and its derivatives, are well-known throughout the world and are a symbol of U.S. military low-level air and logistical power. This, as well as the crash site being only a few miles down the road from where I live, makes this a deeply moving event for me. Hopefully, this type of event is extremely rare, and due to its nature and who was involved, I was inspired to create this tribute page. I never got to meet the awesome guys who were onboard this bird, so this is my way to tell them that it was always an honor to see them go over, it was always a pleasure to hear them, and it was with great pride that I was able to witness just a small slice of U.S. military might and extraordinary aviation engineering. Rest in peace, aviators.


Captain Sean M. Ruane
Captain Christopher S. Stover
Technical Sergeant Dale E. Mathews
Staff Sergeant Afton M. Ponce


Note that these are photos I've taken of the Pave Hawk's that have gone over my local area. They possibly do not include the one that crashed.


Air Force
The Official Home Page of the U.S. Air Force

RAF Lakenheath (Official)
RAF Lakenheath (Wikipedia)
RAF Lakenheath (Facebook)

Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk (Wikipedia)

BBC News - Norfolk helicopter crash: Four people dead
Norfolk Constabulary: Cley helicopter crash; A149 Coast Road reopened
Norfolk Pave Hawk helicopter crash investigators probe whether bird strike was to blame | Mail Online
US Helicopter Crashes On North Norfolk Coast