Five people have died after a missing helicopter crashed in south Snowdonia.
Police say the wreckage of the privately-owned red Twin Squirrel helicopter was found by a mountain rescue team in the Rhinog mountains near Trawsfynydd during a major land search.
The aircraft was en-route from Luton to Dublin on Wednesday afternoon when radar contact was lost. Two coastguard helicopters were involved in a search over the Irish Sea until weather conditions deteriorated.
The search was later switched to land with up to seven mountain rescue teams involved. The crash site is being preserved as part of an air accident investigation. The public has been asked to stay away from the area.
At a press conference this lunchtime, Superintendent Gareth Davies said: ”Initially, its last known position was believed ‘over sea’ in the Caernarfon Bay area but this was then narrowed to a land based search co-ordinated by North Wales Police in Snowdonia involving all local and RAF Mountain Rescue Teams.”
”Local conditions were described as atrocious with visibility down to less than 10 metres in places. The terrain where the aircraft has been located is remote and in places hazardous.”
The five people have yet to be formally identified and the coroner for North West Wales, Dewi Pritchard Jones, has been informed. Family liaison officers from Thames Valley Police are supporting the relatives of those on board the aircraft.
Welsh Secretary of State, Alun Cairns, said he had spoken to the acting chief constable of North Wales Police and offered the UK Government’s full support to the investigation. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said it would also ”offer consular assistance”.
Police are also appealing for anyone who may have seen the helicopter flying over Snowdonia on Wednesday to call 101.