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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 03:54 GMT 04:54 UK
Two die in RAF helicopter crash
Two people have died and 10 others have been injured in an RAF helicopter crash in North Yorkshire.

Police said the deaths were confirmed at the scene, after the crash at about 2100 BST on Wednesday in woods to the west of Catterick Garrison army base.

Injured people were taken to hospitals in Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Darlington and Northallerton.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that a board of inquiry would investigate the cause of the crash.

North Yorkshire Police said three of the people on board the helicopter were RAF crew, and nine Army personnel were passengers.

We watched this helicopter quite rapidly go straight up into the air and it didn't sound right
Andrew Pavey
Local resident

Some of the casualties were taken by RAF Sea King helicopter to the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, a Yorkshire Ambulance Service spokeswoman said.

Others were flown to Newcastle while one person was taken by road ambulance to Friarage Hospital, Northallerton.

The crash was near the Hudswell Grange wooded area to the west of Catterick Garrison.

The base, south-west of Richmond and west of Catterick village, is the Army's largest garrison.

Local resident Andrew Pavey said he had witnessed the crash.

"We watched this helicopter quite rapidly go straight up into the air and it didn't sound right," he told BBC News.

"It sounded like the engine was misfiring or something - it was making a hell of a racket.

"This helicopter went onto its side and then shot off.

"I didn't hear no bangs or nothing. I didn't see no flames or anything like that at all."

Board of inquiry

MoD spokesman Michael Mulford told BBC News 24: "An RAF helicopter, just shortly before 2130 tonight, did come down just on the edge of the Catterick Garrison which is locally known as Hudswell Grange.

"We did launch a major search and rescue operation involving two helicopters, two mountain rescue teams and our colleagues from the police service."

The helicopter would have been flying "in support of the army in some sort of manoeuvres or training", he added.

He said a board of inquiry would be set up to establish the cause of the crash.

"They will go through every possible detail, everything to do with the maintenance of the aircraft, everything to do with crew hours and flying hours as well as weather conditions, mechanics and electrics - everything that you can think of that might contribute to an accident."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said the site of the crash was cordoned off.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews also attended.

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