Five family members killed in Snowdonia helicopter crash named by police

Fiona Simpson
Sad loss: Ruth Burke is believed to have died in a helicopter crash in Snowdonia: Facebook

The bodies of all five victims who died when their helicopter crashed in Snowdonia have been recovered by rescue workers.

They have been identified as Kevin and Ruth Burke aged 56 and 49, Donald and Sharon Burke aged 55 and 48, and Barry Burke, 51, all from the greater Milton Keynes area, North Wales Police said.

Kevin and Ruth Burke, from Hulcote near Milton Keynes, close to where the helicopter took off, are directors of Staske Construction.

Neighbour Elizabeth Thornley said the couple had not lived at their home long and had been "doing up the house for about a year and a half".

Search: Vehicles parked outside the Llanberis Mountain Rescue station (PA)

The 24-year-old, who said the couple "keep to themselves", added that she saw a lot of cars near the house on Thursday morning.

She said: "Then one of the neighbours said 'have you heard about the crash, the helicopter crash?' I thought it had crashed into a horse's paddock, but they said no Kevin's had a crash."

Five dead: a mountain rescue vehicle in the search for victims

The group’s bodies were found with the wreckage of the helicopter in the Rhinog mountains near Trawsfynydd on Thursday, following a major search which began on Wednesday when the privately-owned Twin Squirrel aircraft failed to arrive in Dublin.

Chief Inspector Richie Green, at North Wales Police, said: "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.

"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."

He also thanked the eighty-plus police officers and rescue workers involved "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".

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