Golfers watched with horror as a helicopter appeared to try to land on the cliffs before disappearing out of sight.
Scott Cooper, assistant greenkeeper at Flamborough Head Golf Club, said: “We were on the first green doing some bunker repair work and I glanced across because you hear everything up here.
“I saw a white helicopter which looked to be OK at first, it didn’t seem to be in any trouble.
“Then it started to splutter and it started to sway and I thought the pilot was trying to make a landing but it didn’t make it. We heard a bang and all ran across.
“We couldn’t see a great deal over the cliffs but a few bits of the helicopter and there was a very strong smell of fuel. It was awful.”
Golfer Barry Mills, who was on the course at the time, said: “We heard a clank and it just went down.”
Bridlington and Flamborough lifeboats have launched, ambulances were brought on to the golf course, and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance is at the scene.