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Priest River airman among four killed in helicopter crash

The wreckage of a US Military Air Force Pave Hawk helicopter, partially obscured in front of helicopter right, lies on the ground in Salthouse, England, Wednesday Jan. 8, 2014, after the helicopter crashed late Tuesday killing all four crew members aboard. The Pave Hawk helicopter slammed into the eastern coast during a low-level training mission Tuesday, and authorities cordoned off the area to investigate the incident and to remove the bodies of the four U.S. Air Force crewmen. (Chris Radburn / Associated Press)

Police say the bodies of four U.S. Air Force crew members, including two from the Northwest, have been recovered from the site of a helicopter crash in eastern England.

Capt. Christopher S. Stover of Vancouver, Wash., Staff Sgt. Afton M. Ponce of Priest River, Idaho, Capt. Sean M. Ruane and Technical Sgt. Dale E. Mathews died when their Pave Hawk helicopter came down in a marshland nature reserve on the Norfolk coast on Tuesday.

An ambulance was seen removing bodies from the marsh Thursday after what officials called a “complex” recovery operation.

Norfolk Police say there is no evidence the crash was a criminal matter. The U.S. Air Force will lead the accident investigation.

The aircraft was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force base Lakenheath in eastern England. It was on a training mission when it crashed.