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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 4 June, 2020
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Dublin-born woman among five victims of helicopter crash in Welsh mountains

The bodies have yet to be recovered or formally identified.

The Snowdonia mountain range is making the recovery operation difficult.
The Snowdonia mountain range is making the recovery operation difficult.
Image: Peter Byrne/PA Images

Updated 7.56pm 

THE RECOVERY OPERATION following the helicopter crash in Wales that killed five people may have to be suspended overnight due to worsening weather conditions.

The wreckage of the helicopter was found this morning with all of the victims being members of the same extended family.

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

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

Rescue efforts had got underway yesterday after radio contact was lost with the privately-owned helicopter. It had set off from Milton Keynes in England to travel to Dublin via Caernarfon Bay in Wales.

The aerial search was hampered by poor visibility, and the search turned inland this morning in the Snowdonia region of north-west Wales.

Mountain rescue teams located the wreckage of the helicopter in the Rhinog Mountains.

Helicopter missing An RAF mountain rescue service vehicle on a road near Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia. Source: Peter Byrne

Specialist teams are now participating in the recovery of the bodies but the delicate operation is being hampered by poor weather conditions and difficult terrain.

“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,” said Superintendent Gareth Evans of North Wales Police.

Their recovery is not just important to their families, but also the investigation as it may help identify any contributory factors.

Police have also said that the bodies are yet to be formally identified.

The site of the crash is not accessible by vehicles and the local community is being asked to stay away from the area.

A temporary exclusion zone over the crash site has been put in place that extends to a height of 5,500 feet above sea level and to a radius of five nautical miles.

“In short,  we are advising to keep away from the immediate area so together with the Air Accident Investigation Branch we can gather all the evidence to help establish how this tragic event occurred,” said Evans.

The original search for the helicopter had focused on an area of the Irish Sea because its last known position was believed ‘over sea’ in the Caernarfon Bay area.

Anyone in the local North Wales area who spotted the aircraft flying over the Snowdonia region is being asked to contact police.

“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,” Evans added.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy  

Read: Helicopter destined for Dublin goes missing over the Irish Sea

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