Four confirmed dead after Gillingham helicopter crash

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Four men have been killed after a helicopter crashed into a field near the A143 in Gillingham last night.

Officers received a call at about 7.30pm from a member of the public who reported hearing the noise of a loud crash. The helicopter has been confirmed as an Augusta Westland AW139 helicopter.

Next of kin are still being informed and police have confirmed the four deceased were male.

At this time the police on behalf of HM Coroner will work with partners, including the Air Accident Investigation Branch, to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident. Close examinations of the scene will take place during the day, including support from forensic officers.

Chief Superintendent Bob Scully said: “On behalf of the force I would like to pass on my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of those who have sadly lost their lives in this tragic incident.

“Police, along with our emergency service colleagues have been working through the night to secure the scene.

“Limited investigations have taken place so far due to the dark, cold and foggy conditions. However, with daylight and hopefully clearer conditions a more detailed examination of the crash site can get underway.

“At this time we do not know when the aircraft will be recovered. It is important that the public stay away from the area – the cordon is in place to allow our experts to carry out these processes safely.

“We appreciate the difficulty that the road closures will create and we apologise to those people that have been affected. There are two reasons why we have taken this action; the first is to allow investigators to assess whether there is any debris from the incident on the highway. The second is the close proximity of some of these roads to the crash site.”