Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Aerospatiale AS-355F-1 Ecureuil 2, G-OHCP: Fatal accident occurred March 29, 2017 in Snowdonia, United Kingdom

Kevin and Ruth Burke

Donald and Sharon Burke

Donald and Barry Burke

NTSB Identification: CEN17WA143
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Snowdonia, United Kingdom
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS355, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On March 29, 2017, about 1500 coordinated universal time, an Aerospatiale AS355 F1 helicopter, G-OHCP, collided with Rhinog Fawr mountain in Snowdonia, Wales, United Kingdom. The pilot and four passengers were fatally injured.

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the government of the United Kingdom. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained from the United Kingdom. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom 

The daughter of one of two couples killed in a helicopter crash has described how her family “changed within the space of a day”.

Five members of the same family died in the tragedy in Snowdonia National Park.

The tragedy occurred when the Twin Squirrel aircraft crashed in the Rhinog Mountains near Trawsfynydd on Wednesday while traveling from Luton to Dublin.

The owners of the rotorcraft, Kevin and Ruth Burke, aged 56 and 49, were both among the victims.

Also on board were Mr Burke's two brothers Barry, 41, and Donald, 55, and Donald's wife Sharon, 48.

All of the family lived in the Milton Keynes area and were believed to be traveling to Dublin for a christening.

The immediate family of Donald and Sharon Burke issued a statement through North Wales Police.

Kath Stewardson and the Stewardson family said: “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, and 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.

“We would like to pass on our special thanks to all of the emergency services and public who helped in the search and recovery of our loved ones – also the police liaison officers who have been a great help at this difficult time.”

Donald and Sharon Burke’s daughter Olivia said her family had “changed within the space of a day”.

She added: “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.

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

“We would appreciate if everyone could respect our wishes to be left alone and allow us the time to come to terms with the events of the last few days through the support of our family and friends.”

The bodies of the victims have now been recovered as well as the remains of the helicopter, which has been transported from the Rhinog Mountains for a detailed examination by the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).

The Air Restricted Zone in place since last week has now been removed but the scene is still cordoned off and protected by police as a further search and examination is required.

Chief Inspector Richie Green, of North Wales Police , said: “Now those who tragically lost their lives have been recovered and the wreckage removed a further methodical search and examination is required before we can release the ‘scene’.

“I am very grateful for the continued patience and understanding of the public as we bring this complex and difficult stage of the investigation to a close.

“The AAIB will now begin a detailed examination of the aircraft whilst my officers speak with witnesses and to this end we are still appealing to anyone who was in the Rhinog Mountains area of Snowdonia between 12pm and 1pm on Wednesday, March 29, and may have heard or seen the helicopter.

“North Wales Police and Thames Valley Police continue to support family members and they asked for the tributes and photographs to be shared.

“Our thoughts remain with them.”

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