Snowdonia helicopter victims were members of same family

Two of the victims have been named locally however as Kevin Burke and Ruth Burke - who was born in Ireland before moving to the UK

Snowdonia helicopter victims were members of same family

RAF mountain rescue service vehicles in the Snowdonia mountain range where the wreckage of a helicopter that went missing en route to Dublin has been discovered, 30-03-2017. Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 18:55

Five bodies have been found with the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in the Snowdonia area of Wales yesterday.

Rescue teams have yet to recover all those on board and there are fears the operation may have to be suspended overnight due to worsening weather conditions and the difficult and treacherous terrain in the area.

The wreckage was discovered earlier today after the aircraft went missing on a journey from Luton to Dublin yesterday afternoon.

The helicopter took off just after 11:30am yesterday and radar contact was lost just after 12pm.

North Wales Police have confirmed that all five victims were adults and part of the same extended family from the Milton Keynes area.

Police said they are unable to confirm the identity of those on board until such time as formal identification can take place.

Two of the victims have been named locally however as Kevin and Ruth Burke, the owners of the helicopter. 

It has been reported that Mrs Burke was born in Ireland and had been living in the UK for a number of years.

In a statement to the Milton Keynes Citizen newspaper, a spokesman for the family said: “Six children have lost their parents in this tragedy.”

“At this stage the family wants to be left alone to be able to deal with their grief over this terrible loss and concentrate upon looking after the children.”

In a statement this evening the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said: "Following the tragic helicopter crash in north Wales, my department is closely monitoring the situation and Embassy London is in close contact with the relevant authorities in the UK."

"We stand ready to provide whatever consular assistance is required."

Police, mountain rescue teams and emergency personnel remain at the crash site.

Supt Gareth Evans of North Wales Police said that due to the remoteness of the terrain and the “absolute need carry out this delicate task with sensitivity and dignity” the formal identification of the victims may take some time.

He said the families of those on board are being supported by specialist Police Family Liaison Officers and kept fully updated as the situation develops.

The north west Wales coroner, Dewi Pritchard-Jones called for the public’s continued support in staying away from the crash site.

“Whilst we are undertaking the removal of the bodies we ask the family’s privacy and dignity during this process be respected,” he said.

“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.

“To this end I’d like to repeat my thanks to all those personnel involved for their professionalism and commitment.”

Anyone who saw the aircraft flying over Snowdonia yesterday is asked to contact North Wales Police.