Five members of a family from the Milton Keynes area have been killed in a helicopter crash in North Wales.
The privately-owned helicopter carrying the group was travelling from Luton to Dublin. North Wales Police have confirmed the wreckage was found by a mountain rescue team following a search earlier today (30/03), and that the bodies have been found.
Official confirmation of the identities of the deceased has not yet taken place. Local reports have named MK-based construction company directors Kevin and Ruth Burke as two victims of the crash.
The helicopter had disappeared from radar off the coast of North Wales following stormy weather while flying through the area yesterday afternoon (29/03). After an initial search was conducted of the sea off Caernarfon Bay, the search moved inland and the wreckage was located in the Snowdonia National Park at Rhinog Fawr, near the Trawsfynydd nuclear power plant. The specific location has not been disclosed, although a no-fly area has been established around the crash site.
Police attempts to recover the wreckage and the victims have been hampered by bad weather and difficult local terrain.
North Wales Police Superintendent Gareth Evans said, “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.
“This is a very difficult, challenging and hazardous operation but I’d like to reassure the families of the deceased and local communities that, together with the AAIB and our Mountain Rescue Teams, and weather permitting, we will continue to work as long as it takes until they are all recovered and to this end I’d like to repeat my thanks to all those personnel involved for their professionalism and commitment.”
A joint investigation between police and the Air Accident Investigation Bureau has been commissioned.