POLICE@ and mountain rescue teams at the scene of a helicopter crash in Snowdonia suspended the recovery operation last night (Thursday) due to poor light and weather conditions.
The operation, at Rhinog Fawr, near Trawsfynydd, has resumed again this morning (Friday) despite weather conditions still being described by police as as “very poor and coupled with “challenging and hazardous terrain and under-foot conditions.”
The recovery process is expected to take “some time.”
A joint investigation led by the (AAIB Air Accident Investigation Branch) is now underway following the incident; Police and Mountain Rescue Teams searching for the missing helicopter revealed yesterday afternoon that they had found the wreckage of the helicopter.
A major air and land search was launched on Wednesday when the aircraft vanished after leaving the Luton area.
Specialist officers will begin the recovery of all those on board so they can be re-united with their families.
The five victims were all adult and part of the same extended family from the Milton Keynes area.
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. 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 to contact North Wales Police via the live web chathttp://www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/chat-support.aspx or by phoning 101.”