Posted: Thu 30th Mar 2017

Missing helicopter crash site located – police say no survivors

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 30th, 2017

Update.

Police, Mountain Rescue Teams and other personnel still at the scene of yesterday’s helicopter crash in the Snowdonia National Park at Rhinog Fawr, near Trawsfynydd may have to suspend the recovery of all those on board overnight, 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 the Milton Keynes area.  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.  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 5 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 and to this end I’d like to repeat my thanks to all those personnel involved for their professionalism and commitment.”

“We are also appealing for help from the public and local communities and so I’d ask if anyone sighted the aircraft flying over Snowdonia yesterday to contact North Wales Police via the live web chathttp://www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/chat-support.aspx or by phoning 101.”

Police confirm five people have been killed in a helicopter crash in Snowdonia.

Mountain rescue teams found the helicopter wreckage in the Rhinog mountains, Snowdonia.

In a statement North Wales Police said:

Police and Mountain Rescue Teams searching for the missing helicopter in Snowdonia have found wreckage and sadly the bodies of five people, all of whom are deceased.

The exact location is not being revealed at this time to allow a dignified and unhindered recovery of the bodies in what is described as very difficult and challenging terrain.

Supt. Gareth Evans at North Wales Police said:

The aircraft, a red Twin Squirrel helicopter had failed to arrive in Dublin from Luton yesterday afternoon instigating a full sea and then land search and rescue operation.

Initially, its last known position was believed ‘over sea’ in the Caernarfon Bay area but this was then narrowed to a land based search co-ordinated by North Wales Police in Snowdonia involving all local and RAF Mountain Rescue Teams.

Local conditions were described as atrocious with visibility down to less than 10 metres in places.

My thanks go out to the professionalism and commitment of all those personnel involved in this operation.

Formal identification has not taken place so details of the passengers are not being revealed at this time.

Families of those on board the aircraft are being supported by specialist Police Family Liaison Officers.

Our thoughts are very much with them and on their behalf I ask you respect their privacy at this very difficult time.

The terrain where the aircraft has been located is remote and in places hazardous.

I’d also like to thank the local community for their support and assistance but I’d also ask people to refrain from visiting the area as it is now subject of a full investigation led by the Air Accident Investigation Branch to establish what led up to and caused this tragic event.

We are also appealing for help from the public and local communities and so I’d ask if anyone sighted the aircraft flying over Snowdonia yesterday to contact North Wales Police via the live web chat http://www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/chat-support.aspx or by phoning 101.”

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said the recovery operation will be challenging;

My thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the families of the victims of the helicopter crash in Snowdonia.

I have today spoken to the Acting Chief Constable of North Wales Police to offer the UK Government in Wales’ full support to the investigation.

The emergency services and the mountain rescue involved in the search, rescue and recovery operation have carried out their work in incredibly difficult conditions. I am grateful to them for their determination and dedication, and to those providing support to the families during what is a very difficult time.

The recovery operation will be challenging. I ask that the investigating authorities be given the time and space necessary to undertake this important work.


Previous Update:

North Wales Police are continuing their search for a missing helicopter and it’s passengers after it failed to arrive at its intended destination in Dublin yesterday afternoon.

The aircraft departed from Luton earlier in the day with 5 passengers on board. When it failed to arrive the authorities were notified and a large scale search commenced.

Police, RAF and civilian helicopters were initially utilised to conduct searches over the sea.

The search has now been confined to land in the Snowdonia area with a number of local Mountain Rescue Teams also being used.

Supt. Gareth Evans at North Wales Police said

All available Police, Mountain Rescue and other civilian resources are currently being utilised and we are grateful for the assistance and cooperation of the public as well as our MRT volunteers who are searching very difficult and challenging terrain.

Five people are believed to be on board this ‘private’ flight and specialist Police family liaison officers are in contact with family members. At this stage we are not revealing their names and our thoughts are very much with their families at this difficult time.”

We are also appealing for help from the public and local communities and so I’d ask if anyone who has sighted the aircraft flying over Snowdonia yesterday and thinks they may know of its whereabouts to contact North Wales Police via the live web chat.


Update 12:00am

North Wales Police have now taken over the search operation the Maritime & Coastguard Agency has said, police have called in Mountain Rescue Teams to continue the land based search in the Snowdonia area.

An extensive search centered around the Irish Sea and Snowdonia area has been carried out by the two UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopters based at Caernarfon and St Athan this evening.

Due to low lying cloud, visibility has been extremely poor and has hampered the search efforts.

Helicopter is believed to be AS355 Ecureuil 2 reg: G-OHCP Registered to Milton Keynes based Staske Construction.

The helicopters have now returned to their respective bases and there are no plans at this stage to continue the aerial search unless the weather improves significantly.

[miptheme_quote author=”North Wales Police Statement 12.20am” style=”boxquote text-left”]North Wales Police are coordinating ground searches with Mountain Rescue Teams and working with the Coastguard and the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC).[/miptheme_quote]

Earlier report:

A helicopter with five people on board has gone missing off the coast of north Wales.

The red twin engined squirrel helicopter left Milton Keynes on Wednesday en route to Dublin, via Caernarfon Bay.

UK Coastguard has said it is currently co-ordinating a search and rescue operation for an overdue helicopter in the Caernarfon Bay area.

The search is being hampered by low lying cloud.

The privately owned twin squirrel red helicopter with five people on board is believed to have left Milton Keynes earlier today on route to Dublin, via Caernarfon Bay.

Earlier this afternoon, Distress and Diversion lost radar contact of the helicopter, and after contacting all airbases with no sightings or radio contact, the UK Coastguard were notified at 4.15pm to start a search operation.

The UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Caernarfon has carried out an extensive land-based search of fields and airfields within the Caernarfon area and the helicopter based at St Athan has joined the search this evening.

A Mayday Relay broadcast has been issued to all vessels passing through the Irish Sea route to contact the Coastguard if they have seen anything.

A search of the Irish sea route is commencing this evening.

The North Wales Police have also been notified of the search operation.

UK Coastguard Duty Commander Peter Davies said:

We have established a search plan between Caernarfon Bay and the shore of Dublin and currently have two Coastguard helicopters searching the route.

We are in the process of contacting all the vessels in the Irish Sea that were in the vicinity around midday and we are continuing Mayday broadcast action for any vessels currently in the area to contact us if they have further information.

At the moment we are appealing to these vessels and to the public that if they have seen a twin squirrel red helicopter to please contact 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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