Family remembers Montour HS grad killed in UK helicopter crash

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PITTSBURGH —

A Pittsburgh area native was one of four U.S. Air Force crew members who died in a military helicopter crash in England.

The Royal Air Force said in a release that Capt. Sean M. Ruane died in the Tuesday evening crash.

Family members said 31-year-old Ruane was a graduate of Montour High School.

“Sean always smiled.  He lit up a room when he walked into it,” said his aunt, Audrey Szucs.

Ruane was a husband, father of a 1-year-old boy and Pittsburgh sports enthusiast.

The Pave Hawk helicopter Ruane was in slammed into the coast during a low-level training mission. The aircraft was based at the nearby Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath.

“I don’t think anything would have stopped him from being a pilot,” said Szucs.

The pilot’s aunt said he was living out his childhood dream.

“Sean is the type of person you would want to serve the military and each of us for a lot longer than he was able to,” said Szucs.

Pave Hawks -- a modified version of the better-known Black Hawks -- are mostly used for combat search-and-rescue missions. They typically practice flying low and fast, often at altitudes of hundreds, rather than thousands, of feet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.