Five found dead in missing helicopter wreckage

An air and sea search has been launched for the missing helicopter
An air and sea search has been launched for the missing helicopter

The bodies of five people have been found with the wreckage of a missing helicopter in Snowdonia.

Police and mountain rescue teams had launched a major search after the helicopter failed to arrive in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon after leaving the Luton area.

An air and sea search has been launched for the missing helicopter

An air and sea search has been launched for the missing helicopter

Superintendent Gareth Evans, of North Wales Police, said the details of the victims were not being released by police but specialist officers were supporting their families.

He said the exact location of the crash site was not being revealed to allow recovery of the bodies from the "very difficult and challenging terrain".

A full investigation will now be led by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

An extensive search of the Irish Sea and Snowdonia was launched at about 4.15pm on Wednesday after the distress and diversion system lost radar contact with the privately-owned Twin Squirrel aircraft.

A vehicle parked outside the Llanberis Mountain Rescue station in the Snowdonia mountain range

A vehicle parked outside the Llanberis Mountain Rescue station in the Snowdonia mountain range

Mr Evans said: "Initially, it's last known position was believed 'over sea' in the Caernarfon Bay area but this was then narrowed to a land-based search coordinated 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."

He added: "I'm sure you'll appreciate this is an agonising time for the families and friends of all involved.

Vehicles parked outside the Llanberis Mountain Rescue station in the Snowdonia mountain range in north Wales

Vehicles parked outside the Llanberis Mountain Rescue station in the Snowdonia mountain range in north Wales

"Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

He said the bodies had not yet been formally identified.

He appealed for any members of the public who saw the helicopter over the Rhinog mountains area near Trawsfynydd to get in touch with police.

Mr Evans said officers from Thames Valley Police were in contact with the families of the victims.

Two UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopters based at Caernarfon and St Athan were initially scrambled to scan the area between Caernarfon Bay and the Dublin shore on Wednesday but the search was later scaled back due to poor weather conditions.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or via the live web chat www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/chat-support.aspx.