Police, mountain rescue teams and other personnel are still at the scene of yesterday’s helicopter crash in the Snowdonia National Park.
It was feared that the ‘recovery operation’ may have been suspended due to worsening weather conditions and the difficult and treacherous terrain in the area.
A joint investigation led by the AAIB Air Accident Investigation Branch is now underway, central to which will be the methodical and forensic recovery of the aircraft.
However, before this stage, specialist officers will begin the recovery of all those on board so they can be re-united with their families.
The five victims are all adult and part of the same extended family from Milton Keynes.
Specialist officers from Thames Valley Police are working with them but we are unable to confirm the identity of those on board until such time as formal identification can take place.
Supt Gareth Evans said: “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.
“Their recovery is not just important to their families, but also the investigation as it may help identify any contributory factors.
“Formal identification is yet to take place and this may take some time.
“All the families of those on board the aircraft are being supported by specialist Police Family Liaison Officers and fully updated with developments.
HM Coroner for north west Wales Mr Dewi Pritchard-Jones has been informed and ‘opened’ an investigation.
“The location is not easily accessible for vehicles and so we are asking for the local and greater community’s continued support in staying away from the immediate area to allow emergency services and personnel access,” Supt Evans added.
“Whilst we are undertaking the removal of the bodies we ask the family’s privacy and dignity during this process be respected and repeat our notification that a temporary exclusion zone over the crash site with a height of 5500 foot above sea level and a five nautical mile radius is currently in place.
“In short, we are advising to keep away from the immediate area so together with the AAIB we can gather all the evidence to help establish how this tragic event occurred.
“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.
“I’d like to repeat my thanks to all those personnel involved for their professionalism and commitment.”