Efforts are underway to recover the wreckage of the helicopter which crashed in Snowdonia, killing five members of the same family.
Police and mountain rescue teams completed the recovery of the bodies of three men and two women from the site in the Rhinog mountains near Trawsfynydd on Friday afternoon.
They have been officially named as Kevin Burke (56) & his wife Ruth (49), Donald Burke (55) & his wife Sharon (48) and Barry Burke (51), all from the Milton Keynes area. They had been travelling from Luton to Dublin for a christening when the privately-owned Twin Squirrel helicopter crashed on Wednesday.
The bodies were taken to a local hospital mortuary following an intensive two-day recovery operation involving up to 80 people, including RAF personnel, air accident investigators and forensic experts. The operation had been hampered by poor weather conditions and treacherous terrain around the crash site, described as a two-hour walk and ‘scramble’ from the nearest road.
The recovery of the aircraft is likely to take around three days – it will be taken to the Air Accident Investigation Branch in Farnborough to allow for the investigation into the crash to continue. A temporary exclusion zone has been reduced to a two-mile radius – but police have reminded people to stay away from the area until the recovery operation is complete.
Chief Inspector Richie Green of North Wales Police said: ”Thames Valley Police Family Liaison Officers have informed family members and we can now begin the very difficult process of formal identification…our thoughts remain with the extended family and their friends.”
”I would also like to thank the police officers and Mountain Rescue personnel not just for their dedication and skill in very trying conditions but also the dignified and compassionate manner in which the whole operation was conducted.”
It’s believed the helicopter was registered to Kevin and Ruth Burke, who ran a local construction firm in Milton Keynes. Mr Burke, originally from Manchester, was a qualified pilot.