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Snowdonia helicopter crash: Recovery operation hampered by weather

Specially trained ‘recovery’ officers from North Wales Police and Mountain Rescue Teams are still being hampered by both weather and terrain as they try to recover the bodies of those who lost their lives in Wednesday’s helicopter crash in the Rhinog Mountains in Snowdonia National Park.

The location of the crash site is both remote and treacherous.

Access is only possible on foot, the site being approximately 4 km or 2 hours walk over very challenging terrain, from the last discernible road and access to this road is only possible with a 4x4 vehicle.

The site itself, and access to it, is precarious, on a steep slope and covered in heather, lichen and moss which after the recent heavy rain is making just standing upright difficult.

At over 700m above sea level just getting to the site involves a degree of ‘scrambling’.

Weather is unfortunately worsening making the task of getting both personnel and their equipment there alone very difficult and potentially dangerous.

That said both Police and Mountain Rescue Teams are utterly determined and focused in recovering all those lost as quickly and as sensitively as possible so they can be reunited with their families.

– Chief Inspector Richie Green, North Wales Police

Trained, experienced mountain rescue personnel are finding the terrain difficult and challenging.

There are no footpaths and the ground underfoot is treacherous in places even for the most experienced however we are all unwavering in our determination to assist reunite the families with those who lost their lives.

– Phil Benbow, Chairman of the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association

A joint investigation led by the AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) is underway and investigators are at the scene to assist forensic recovery of the aircraft.

Recovery of bodies from helicopter crash resumes

Ruth and Kevin Burke ran a construction company. Credit: Facebook

The recovery of the bodies of five members of the same family who died when their helicopter crashed in Snowdonia has resumed.

The victims haven't been formally identified but their families are being supported by specialist officers from Thames Valley Police.

Two of those on board the helicopter have been named locally as Kevin and Ruth Burke from Hulcote, near Milton Keynes.

On what is thought to be her Facebook profile, Mrs Burke says she's originally from Dublin, the city where the helicopter was heading.

The profile was updated yesterday to read 'Remembering Ruth Burke'.

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

North Wales Police have said that weather conditions are still very poor today.

Coupled with the very challenging and hazardous terrain and under-foot conditions, officers expect the process to take some time.


Snowdonia helicopter crash: Recovery of bodies might be suspended overnight

Emergency services driving away from the scene

North Wales Police say worsening weather conditions and the difficult terrain mean efforts to recover the bodies of the victims of the Snowdonia helicopter crash might have be suspended until tomorrow.

Specialist officers are recovering the bodies of the five people on board before the wreckage of the aircraft itself is taken away.

A investigation into the cause of the crash, led by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), is now underway.

Owing to the nature and remoteness of the terrain, the poor weather conditions and the absolute need carry out this delicate task with sensitivity and dignity this may take some time.

Their recovery is not just important to their families, but also the investigation as it may help identify any contributory factors. Formal identification is yet to take place and this may take some time.

– Supt Gareth Evans, North Wales Police

The force repeated its call for members of the public to keep away from the area, and also asked for anyone who might have seen the helicopter flying over Snowdonia on Wednesday to contact them.

  1. Anglia

'Six children have lost their parents': Family grieve after helicopter crash claims five lives

Local businessman Kevin Burke and his wife Ruth are thought to have been on board. Credit: Facebook

The family of five people killed when their helicopter crashed in Snowdonia say "six children have lost their parents".

The aircraft had set off from Hulcote village in Bedfordshire on the afternoon of Wednesday 29 March.

It is believed local businessman Kevin Burke was travelling alongside his wife Ruth, his two brothers and one of their wives to Dublin. The aircraft came down in the Rhinog mountain range near Trawsfynydd.

In a statement released to the town's paper, the MK Citizen, the family say they need to "be left alone to deal with their grief".

Six children have lost their parents in this tragedy. At this stage the family wants to be left alone to be able to deal with their grief over this terrible loss and concentrate upon looking after the children.

– Family spokesman

Police: Snowdonia helicopter crash site 'remote and hazardous'

Police thanked rescuers for their work in

North Wales Police say the crash site of the helicopter that came down in Snowdonia is "remote... and hazardous".

The aircraft crashed in the Rhinog mountain range near Trawsfynydd.

The exact location has yet to be revealed "to allow a dignified and unhindered recovery of the bodies".

Local conditions were described as atrocious with visibility down to less than 10 metres in places. My thanks go out to the professionalism and commitment of all those personnel involved in this operation.

I'd also ask people to refrain from visiting the area as it is now subject of a full investigation led by the Air Accident Investigation Branch to establish what led up to and caused this tragic event.

– Supt. Gareth Evans, North Wales Police

A huge search was launched for the red Twin Squirrel helicopter after it failed to arrive in Dublin yesterday.

Police say it took off from "the Luton area", but not Luton Airport itself.

Five bodies found in Snowdonia missing helicopter search

The helicopter was flying from the Luton area to Dublin, with the search focusing on the Snowdonia area

North Wales Police have confirmed that the crash site of the missing helicopter has been found, along with the bodies of the five people on board.

The aircraft crashed in the Rhinog mountain range near Trawsfynydd.

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