North Wales Police recovery officers have completed the recovery of all five people who tragically lost their lives in Wednesday’s helicopter crash in the Rhinog Mountains of Snowdonia.
Details of all five passengers are now confirmed as Kevin and Ruth Burke aged 56 and 49, Donald and Sharon Burke aged 55 and 48 and Barry Burke, 51.
Chief Inspector Richie Green at North Wales Police has paid tribute to the professionalism, bravery and skill of all those involved in this very challenging and distressing operation.
He said: “Shortly before 3.30pm this afternoon (Friday) the last of the five who were on board the helicopter were recovered and they have now been transported to a local hospitals mortuary.
“Thames Valley Police Family Liaison Officers have informed family members and we can now begin the very difficult process of formal identification.
“We’ll continue to support the family and I’d simply ask both media and public alike to respect their privacy at this time. 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.
“Now all the bodies have been recovered the joint investigation with the Air Accident Investigation Board will begin in earnest to establish how this accident happened.
“Again with the family’s consent we are sharing a photograph of the scene taken before the ‘crash’ which gives some indication of the extremely difficult conditions we are working in.”
“Until the helicopter is fully recovered the scene will remain cordoned and under police and RAF guard so I’d remind people to please keep away from the area.
“The temporary exclusion zone over the crash site with a height of 5500 foot above sea level remains in place but has been reduced to a two mile radius.
“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.”