'Our family has changed in a day' - Daughter's tribute to Burke family killed in Wales helicopter crash
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'Our family has changed in a day' - Daughter's tribute to Burke family killed in Wales helicopter crash

THE daughter of a couple who died in last week's horror helicopter crash in Wales says their family has been changed in a day.

Second generation Irish brothers Donald, Kevin and Barry, along with Donald's wife Sharon and Kevin's wife Ruth - from Dublin - all perished in the tragedy.

Olivia Burke, the daughter of Donald and Sharon Burke, released the emotional statement to pay tribute to her parents, as well as her uncles and aunt who died in the Snowdonia crash.

"Our family has changed within the space of a day, " she said.

"They were taken far too soon and it’s hard for us to understand why such a tragedy would happen to the best type of people, who were so selfless and genuine to everyone they met.

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"They embodied every attribute of an amazing parent, sibling, child and friend," she added. "That will never be forgotten and will only make us aspire to do them proud."

Sharon Burke's family, the Stewardsons, also thanked the public for their messages of condolences and support.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their support and messages of condolences on the loss of our wonderful daughter, sister and auntie, Sharon Burke, her husband Donald, his brothers Kevin and Barry also Kevin's wife Ruth.

"We are truly overwhelmed with all your love and support.

"Our thoughts at this time are especially with Sharon and Donald's three wonderful children who are a credit to their parents."

The Burke brothers were the sons of Donal Burke, who was from Kilcummin, north Mayo who moved to Britain with his wife Noeleen years ago.

The five family members were travelling from their home in Milton Keynes to Weston Airport on Wednesday, March 29, to attend a family celebration in Ireland.

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But when it failed to arrive in Dublin a search operation was launched over the Irish Sea by British Coastguard helicopters based at Caernarfon Bay and St Athan.

North Wales Police and the Mountain Rescue Teams took over the search on Thursday morning on the ground in the Snowdonia area of Wales, where they discovered the crashed helicopter in the Rhinog Mountains.

Due to weather conditions and the site being located in an area only accessible by a two-hour hike, the bodies of the family members were recovered on Friday, March 31.

Fine Gael councillor Jarlath Munnelly told The Irish Post: "The feeling locally is one of shock and loss. There’s a sense that Kilcummin has lost its own sons in this terrible tragedy.”