Four bodies recovered in search for missing teenagers in north Wales
The bodies of four teenage boys, who disappeared after travelling to north Wales for a camping trip, have been found inside an overturned and partly submerged car.
Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen, Wilf Henderson and Hugo Morris, who were college students aged between 16 and 18, had travelled to Snowdonia (Eryri) at the weekend where they had planned to camp overnight.
They were last seen on Sunday morning in a silver Ford Fiesta, and their families raised the alarm when the group failed to return home to Shrewsbury on Monday.
After a tipoff from a member of the public, police found a car overturned and partially submerged in water on Tuesday morning, around 5 miles from where they were last seen in Porthmadog two days earlier.
Supt Owain Llewelyn, of North Wales police, said: “At present, this appears to have been a tragic accident, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the four young men at this very difficult time.
“This has been an extensive search involving a number of different agencies and volunteers, and this is sadly not the outcome that any of us would have wanted.”
Police said the four teenagers, one 16-year-old, two boys aged 17, and one 18-year-old, had travelled to Harlech, Gwynedd, on Saturday evening and had planned to camp in Snowdonia on Sunday.
In a tribute posted on Instagram, Wilf’s girlfriend, Maddi, said: “I’m going to miss you forever. The sweetest and most loving boy I’ve ever known. Thank you for loving me endlessly, I promise I’ll do the same for you. I can’t imagine my world without you.”
Her mother, Lisa Corfield, said: “Wilf was such a lovely kind lad and treated Maddi in a way only a mother could hope her daughter be treated. Maddi is heartbroken and we will all miss you dearly Wilf.”
North Wales ambulance service said a number of emergency vehicles, supported by two Wales air ambulance helicopters, responded to an incident just after 10am on Tuesday.
The car appears to have crashed on the A4085 at Garreg, near Tremadog, and North Wales police said investigations were ongoing to establish the circumstances that led to the car leaving the road.
Llewellyn added: “I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the emergency services and members of the voluntary search agencies and members of the public who supported us with this search.
“Whilst the search is concluded, there is an ongoing investigation to formally identify those within the vehicle and to understand what has led to this tragic incident.”
Crystal Owen, Harvey’s mother, told the BBC they believed the last time the group had used their phones was about midday on Sunday. “We haven’t slept a wink,” she said, adding that her son had told her he was staying with a friend’s grandfather. “If I’d have known [where he was going] I wouldn’t have let him due to the winter weather conditions.”
The boys were all A-level students at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, which issued a statement saying “the college’s immediate thoughts are with the family and friends of the teenagers”.
Their former school, Meole Brace School in Shrewsbury, which said “all four boys were well-thought [of] and well-known by the school community. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families”.
On Tuesday, police cordoned off a 4-mile stretch of the A4085 between the villages of Garreg and Pont Aberglaslyn, where the car was found.
Residents said the road was steep and narrow, and that weather conditions over the weekend had been wet and windy. There is also very little phone signal in the area.
In a joint statement, the local MP, Liz Saville Roberts, and Senedd member, Mabon ap Gwynfor, said: “This news is truly heartbreaking and foremost as parents ourselves, our thoughts go out to the families and friends of the four young men whose lives have been lost in this tragic accident.
“No words can sufficiently reflect the sorrow that this news brings to our whole community.”
A local councillor, June Jones, told Sky News: “I was hoping that they’d gone out camping wild and had no mobile signal. I was hoping very much that that is the reason why they haven’t been in contact – there’s not much mobile signal in this area.
She said the area was in complete shock at the news, adding: “It has been extremely wet and the rivers have been extremely high over the last few days. It is bad weather to be travelling in, especially with somebody who doesn’t know the roads very well.”