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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
burke family

'We are truly overwhelmed by all your love': Family pays tribute to helicopter crash victims

Relatives of the victims have told how their lives changed in an instant.

donald-and-sharon-burke Donald and Sharon Burke.

kevin-and-ruth-burke Kevin and Ruth Burke.

THE FAMILY OF the five people who lost their lives when their helicopter bound for Dublin crashed in Wales has told of their gratitude for the support they have received since losing their loved ones.

The wreckage of the helicopter was discovered late last week and all the victims have been identified.

Sharon Burke, her husband Donald, his brothers Kevin and Barry and also Kevin’s wife Ruth died in the crash. They were on their way to Ireland for a christening.

A statement released by the family of Sharon and Donald Burke read:

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their support and messages of condolences on the loss of our wonderful daughter, sister and auntie, Sharon Burke, her husband Donald, his brothers Kevin and Barry also Kevin’s wife Ruth.

We are truly overwhelmed with all your love and support. Our thoughts at this time are especially with Sharon and Donald’s three wonderful children who are a credit to their parents.

Those sentiments were echoed by Donald and Sharon Burke’s daughter Olivia, who said that her family changed “within the space of a day”.

“They were taken far too soon and it’s hard for us to understand why such a tragedy would happen to the best type of people, who were so selfless and genuine to everyone they met. They embodied every attribute of an amazing parent, sibling, child and friend. That will never be forgotten and will only make us aspire to do them proud.”

barryJPG Donald and Barry Burke.

Chief inspector Richie Green of North Wales Police described the search 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 hospital’s mortuary, ” Green said in a statement.

crashsite Crash site in Snowdonia, north Wales.

“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.

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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