Helicopter crash victims feared to be Irish woman Ruth Burke and husband Kevin Burke

Helicopter crash victims feared to be Irish woman Ruth Burke and husband Kevin Burke

TWO of the victims of the Ireland-bound helicopter that crashed in Snowdonia have been named locally as Ruth Burke and her husband Kevin Burke. 

Mr and Mrs Burke were two of five people travelling in a private helicopter from Milton Keynes to Dublin, yesterday March 29.

It is believed the five passengers - three men and two women - were part of an extended Irish family.

Formal identification is yet to take place but it is understood the remaining passengers are family members of Mr and Mrs Burke, who was from Dublin originally.

The Burkes owned Staske Construction and Tubular Erectors for over 20 years and have two children, who were not on board the helicopter that crashed in Wales.

A spokesman for the family told local newspaper Milton Keynes Citizen "Six children have lost their parents in this tragedy.

"At this stage the family wants to be left alone to be able to deal with their grief over this terrible loss and concentrate upon looking after the children."

It's understood the helicopter took off from Hulcote, three miles from their home.

When it failed to arrive in Dublin yesterday, a search operation was launched at 4.15pm over the Irish Sea by British Coastguard helicopters based at Caernarfon Bay and St Athan.

But due to low lying cloud, and extremely poor visibility, the helicopters returned to their bases.

North Wales Police and the Mountain Rescue Teams took over the search this morning on the ground in the Snowdonia area of Wales.

Police confirmed earlier today that the wreckage of the helicopter and five bodies have been found in rough terrain in Snowdonia.

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," Supt Evans said.

The area where the helicopter was found has been described as "hazardous" and "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," police added.