Idaho Airman Killed In UK Helicopter Crash

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Staff Sgt. Afton Thornton Ponce
  • USAF Honor Guard
  • Staff Sgt. Afton Thornton Ponce

An Idaho U.S. Air Force staff sergeant was one of four U.S. airmen killed Jan. 7, when their Pave Hawk helicopter crashed on the eastern coast of England.

KREM-TV reports that Staff Sgt. Afton Thornton Ponce attended Priest River Lamanna High School. She was aboard a helicopter that crashed about 6 p.m. local time Jan. 7 near Salthouse on the Norfolk Coast of England. The helicopter was based at the nearby Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath, Suffolk County, and was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing.

Ponce graduated from Lamanna High School in 2003.

It's not yet known what caused the crash. Emergency workers said they believed there was ammunition on board the helicopter, and the scene was cordoned off so that experts could ensure the area is safe.