Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 17:07 UK

Two killed as helicopter crashes

Scene of the helicopter crash at Barnaby's Sands
Two people were killed when the helicopter crashed

A helicopter has crashed on the banks of an estuary in Lancashire, killing two people on board.

Police said a Mayday signal was sent from the aircraft as it flew over Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool, at about 1210 BST.

The aircraft was located at Barnaby's Sands, an area of salt marsh on the edge of the Wyre estuary, about 40 minutes later.

Emergency services are at the scene carrying out a recovery operation.

Lancashire police have confirmed both people on board suffered fatal injuries.

It is not known what caused the helicopter to crash.

Airport signal

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the helicopter was understood to be a civilian aircraft.

The Mayday signal was received by Blackpool Airport's air traffic control, which alerted the emergency services.

The wreckage was discovered at 1250 BST.

Barnaby's Sands, which is a nature reserve, is managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

According to the trust, it is one of the last extensive areas of un-grazed salt marsh on the Lancashire coast and is popular with birdwatchers.

Lynda Brislin, chief executive of North West Air Ambulance said: "This is a tragic loss of life and our crew were at the scene within minutes of being called.

"The fact that the crash involved a helicopter was a very difficult situation for us to deal with and our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives."

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