Bodies of missing teenagers found in submerged car in Snowdonia

Four teenagers who disappeared on a weekend camping trip to Snowdonia have been found dead after their car was discovered submerged in a river.

The bodies of Harvey Owen, 18, Wilf Henderson, 17, Jevon Hirst, 16 and Hugo Morris, 17 were found near the A4085 at Garreg, near Tremadog, on Tuesday afternoon after a major search operation.

The sixth-form students, all from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, are believed to have been killed after the silver Ford Fiesta they were driving crashed on a “windy, narrow” country road and plunged into water.

It is not yet clear whether they crashed on their way home on Monday, or shortly after they were last seen on Sunday afternoon and their phones went dead.

Their disappearance sparked a huge search, with mountain rescue coastguard teams scouring the remote area for any sign of the teenagers.

On Tuesday evening, Supt Owain Llewellyn, of North Wales Police, said a vehicle had been discovered “upside down, partially submerged in water”.

“Tragically the bodies of four young males were recovered from within the vehicle.”

Mr Llewelyn said the families of the missing boys had been informed and an investigation was under way to formally identify the victims and “understand what led to this tragic accident”.

The boys are believed to have left Shrewsbury on Saturday night before travelling 75 miles to the coastal Welsh village of Harlech.

Their silver Ford Fiesta was seen around lunchtime on Sunday driving in the Porthmadog area and a short time later, their families say, they used their phones for the last time.

The teenagers, who all attended Shrewsbury College, were planning to return home on Monday morning but their parents contacted police that afternoon when they failed to arrive.

Police activity between the village of Garreg and Nantmor, Snowdonia near to where the police have discovered the vehicle used by four teenagers who went missing on Sunday.
The area where the car was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning - Rowan Griffiths/Mirrorpix

Over the next 24 hours mountain rescue teams, coastguard and emergency services searched Snowdonia and the remote surrounding countryside.

Helicopters were heard by residents of Garreg, close to where the car was found, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Emyr Owen, who lives near the crash site, said that the weather in the area had been “atrocious”.

At 10 o’clock on Monday morning, a member of the public contacted police after spotting a car that had left the A4085 on a narrow stretch of road between Beddgelert and Llanfrothen.

Supt Llewellyn said the search area where the car was found had “some complexities”, adding that it was a “difficult scene to manage”.

The mother of Harvey Owen, Crystal, who had driven down to Snowdonia to help with the search effort before the bodies were found, told the BBC she had been unaware he was going on a camping trip and believed he had been going to a friend’s grandparents’ house.

“If I’d have known [where he was going] I wouldn’t have let him due to the winter weather conditions”, she said.

Wilf’s girlfriend posted a tribute on social media as the news of his death broke, writing: “I’m going to miss you forever.”

Eryri National Park, also known as Snowdonia, is Wales’s largest national park, covering a total of 823 sq miles (1,324 sq km). The village of Garreg, the nearest settlement to where they were found, contains only 18 homes.

A resident of 50 years, who asked not to be named, said that the sound of helicopters woke her at five o’clock on Tuesday morning.

She said that the road the boys had been travelling on, which leads to Beddgelert, was “very bendy”.

Councillor June Jones, of Gwynedd Council for Glaslyn ward, said the discovery was “incredibly sad”.

She added: “I think people will be shocked for a long time. People want answers. Why? What happened there? What happened?”

Cllr Jones said the mobile phone signal in the valley was non-existent so the majority of the locals had assumed “oh they’re out of signal, they’ve gone camping, they’re having fun.”

Liz Saville Roberts, the local MP, and Mabon ap Gwynfor, the local Senedd member, said in a joint statement: “No words can sufficiently reflect the sorrow that this news brings to our whole community.”

05:26 PM GMT

Truck arrives to remove car

A truck has arrived approximately three quarters of a mile from the crash scene, in order to winch the car from the river.

A vehicle carrying heavy lifting gear arrives at Garreg Ilanfrothen on the A4085
A vehicle carrying heavy lifting gear arrives at Garreg Ilanfrothen on the A4085

05:03 PM GMT

Statement in full

North Wales Police statement in full:

It is believed that [the group] travelled to Harlech on Saturday 18th with plans to camp in the Eyri area on Sunday.

A large search was undertaken overnight and that continued into this morning shortly after 10am a member of the public contacted us reporting a vehicle having left the road.

Police officers attended and located a ford fiesta vehicle upside down partially submerged in water. Tragically the bodies of four young males were recovered from within the vehicle the families of the missing men have been informed our thoughts are with them at this desperate time.

While the search has concluded there is an ongoing inquiry to formally identify those in the vehicle and to understand what has led to this tragic incident.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank members of the emergency services, volunteers from the search agencies and members of the public who have supported us with this search.

04:54 PM GMT

Car found overturned and partially submerged

Supt Owain Llewelyn, from North Wales Police, said that officers found the Ford Fiesta overturned and partially submerged in water.

He added that the bodies of four young men were recovered from within the vehicle, and added that their families had been informed.

04:26 PM GMT

Community in 'complete shock'

The community in the area where the teenagers went missing are in “complete shock”, a local councillor has said.

“It’s been a tremendous few hours really... the thoughts of the whole valley are with the families of these young lads,” said Councillor June Jones, who represents the Llanfrothen area on Gwynedd’s council.

04:01 PM GMT

North Wales Police to make statement

North Wales Police will make a statement to the media about the four missing teenagers at 4.30pm at its headquarters in St Asaph.

No questions will be taken.

03:22 PM GMT

Pictured: Vehicle transporter arrives at scene

A vehicle transporter van arrives at the road block - Rob Formstone

03:18 PM GMT

Teenagers' former school issues statement

Meole Brace School in Shrewsbury, where all four teenagers attended, said they were all “well known” by the school community.

“Jev, Harvey and Wilf left us last year at the end of Year 11, and Hugo the year before. All four boys were well-thought [of] and well-known by the school community,” its head teacher Alan Doust said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families for their safe return.”

02:51 PM GMT

Pictured: Mountain rescue at scene

Mountain rescue vehicles are seen crossing the police road block in Garreg - Rob Formstone
The road block is located less than a mile from where the teenagers' car was located - Rob Formstone

02:17 PM GMT

Forensics van spotted near scene

A forensics van has been seen on the road near where the car was discovered, according to the BBC.

No further information has been made available by the police at this stage.

01:42 PM GMT

Where is the search taking place?

01:36 PM GMT

Disappearance 'very worrying', says MP

Liz Saville Roberts, the Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, said the situation was “very worrying”.

“My immediate thoughts are with their family and friends who will be extremely concerned about their welfare,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

01:36 PM GMT

School issues statement

Shrewsbury College has issued a statement following the disappearance of the four boys.

The school told The Telegraph: “We, at the college, like everyone else hope that the teenagers are found safe and well soon. It must be a very worrying time for the family and friends of the teenagers.”

01:26 PM GMT

Pictured: Police cordon near Garreg

A police cordon has been set up near the village of Garreg in North Wales - @bbcmtd
The cordon is located on the A4085, near Porthmadog - @BBCWalesNews

01:21 PM GMT

When did the teenagers go missing?

12:55 PM GMT

Ambulance service called to reports of an incident

The Welsh Ambulance Service says it was called to reports of an incident near the A4085 between Nantmor and Tan-Lan in Gwynedd at about 10.08am

“We sent an operations manager, two emergency ambulances and two Cymru High Acuity Response Units to the scene where we were supported by the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service in two Wales Air Ambulance charity helicopters,” it said.

12:50 PM GMT

Mother of missing teenager says she is 'frantically worried'

Crystal Owen, the mother of Harvey, told the BBC she was currently making her way to north Wales to be closer to the search operation.

She said she believes the last time the group used their phones was about midday on Sunday in Porthmadog, and said her son had not logged onto his WhatsApp, which she said was unusual.

“I am frantically worried, we haven’t slept a wink, we are desperate to chase any lead we can,” she said.

“If I’d have known [where he was going] I wouldn’t have let him due to the winter weather conditions.

“They are all sensitive, intelligent lads and we are just hoping they parked up, got lost and are OK.”

Read the full story here.

12:37 PM GMT

Good afternoon

Welcome to our live coverage of the search for four missing teenagers in north Wales.

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