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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 28 May, 2020

All five bodies recovered from downed helicopter as Welsh police release photo of crash site

All of the victims were from the same family.

POLICE IN WALES have recovered all five bodies from the site of Wednesday’s helicopter crash in Snowdonia.

The five people who died were all members of the same family and have now been identified by police as Kevin and Ruth Burke aged 56 and 49, Donald and Sharon Burke aged 55 and 48 respectively and 51-year-old Barry Burke.

The five are from the Milton Keynes area in southern England.

Ruth Burke is originally from Dublin and the downed helicopter was crossing the Irish Sea en route to Dublin when the crash occurred.

ruth Ruth and Kevin died in the helicopter crash. Source: Facebook

Chief inspector Richie Green of North Wales Police said this evening that all the bodies have now been removed from the crash site. He described it as a “challenging and distressing operation.”

“Shortly before 3.30pm this afternoon the last of the five who were on board the helicopter were recovered and they have now been transported to a local hospitals mortuary, ” Green said in a statement.

“Thames Valley Police family liaison officers have informed family members and we can now begin the very difficult process of formal identification,” he added.

Rescue efforts had got underway on Wednesday after radio contact was lost with the privately-owned helicopter.

The search at first focused on an area of the Irish Sea before its location in the Welsh mountainous region was identified.

The rugged terrain was inaccessible to vehicles and this along with poor weather conditions had hampered the rescue operation.

A temporary exclusion zone over the crash site remains in place and extends to a height of 5,500 feet above sea level but the radius has been reduced from five to two miles.

Now that the bodies have been recovered by police, the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch is leading the probe into the crash.

“Recovery of the helicopter will begin, weather permitting,  this weekend and led by the AAIB whilst North Wales Police will prepare a file for HM Coroner and assist the AAIB investigation,” Green said.

crash site The crash site in Snowdonia, north Wales. Source: North Wales Police

With the consent of the family of the victims, police have released a photograph of the scene taken before the crash to show the difficult terrain involved.

Read: Recovery of the bodies of five family members killed in a helicopter crash to continue today >

Read: Dublin-born woman among five victims of helicopter crash in Welsh mountains >

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Rónán Duffy

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