Belfast Telegraph

Inquest opens into deaths of five family members in helicopter crash

An inquest into the deaths of five family members killed in a helicopter crash has been opened and adjourned.

Three brothers and two of their wives died in the crash in mountains in Snowdonia, North Wales, earlier this year.

Those killed were Kevin and Ruth Burke, aged 56 and 49, Donald and Sharon Burke aged 55 and 48, and Barry Burke, 51.

The five, from a wealthy Anglo-Irish family, who lived in the Milton Keynes area, were on their way to Dublin on March 29, for a party following the confirmation of another young relative.

When their privately-owned Twin Squirrel aircraft failed to land in Ireland a major search was launched.

Their bodies were later found with the wreckage of the helicopter in the remote Rhinog mountains near Trawsfynydd, North Wales.

On Thursday, Dewi Pritchard Jones, senior coroner for North West Wales, formally opened and adjourned the inquest into their deaths at Caernarfon Coroner's Court. No members of the Burke family were present for the 10-minute hearing.

The coroner said: "This is the helicopter crash that occurred on Wednesday the 29th of March this year.

"Most of you will have heard of it in the press.

"Tragically they were all in a helicopter which crashed. All of the bodies have been identified and funerals have taken place."

He said the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was conducting an inquiry into the cause of the crash and from experience of previous inquests involving aircraft accidents, their work and final report would take up to a year to complete.

He added: "The inquest into the deaths of these five people, all from the same family very tragically, is now adjourned and will remain adjourned until the AAIB report has been received."

Kevin and Ruth Burke, from Hulcote near Milton Keynes - close to where the helicopter took off - were directors of Staske Construction, which owned a Twin Squirrel.

The three brothers were the sons of an Irish couple who emigrated to Britain, according to the Irish Independent.

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