The bodies of five people have been found with the wreckage of a missing helicopter in Snowdonia, North Wales Police have said.
A major search was launched after the aircraft went missing on Wednesday afternoon.
The privately owned twin squirrel red helicopter is believed to have left Milton Keynes yesterday en route to Dublin, via Caernarfon Bay, the Press Association reports.
A mountain rescue team found the wreckage in the Rhinog mountains between Trawsfynydd and Harlech, the BBC reported, although police are yet to reveal the exact location of the crash site.
Superintendent Gareth Evans of North Wales Police said on Thursday that the crash site had been located and the bodies of all five people on board had been found.
The exact location is not being revealed “to allow a dignified and unhindered recovery of the bodies in what is described as very difficult and challenging terrain”, police said.
Evans 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.”
Police said that formal identification had not taken place and that details of the passengers are not being revealed at this time.
Families of those on board the aircraft are being supported by specialist Police Family Liaison officers.
Evans added: “The terrain where the aircraft has been located is remote and in places hazardous.
“I’d also like to thank the local community for their support and assistance but I’d also ask people to refrain from visiting the area as it 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.”
A coroner for north west Wales has opened an investigation, the BBC reported, and the the Air Accident Investigation Branch is also looking into the incident.
A spokesman from the UK Coastguard said radar contact with the helicopter was lost on Wednesday afternoon and the Coastguard was notified to start a search operation at 4.15pm.
A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said earlier today that the search was being affected by weather conditions.
She said: “There is quite poor visibility which is hampering the search efforts. There is a lot of low cloud coverage.”
North Wales Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the aircraft flying over Snowdonia yesterday to contact them by phoning 101.