Heartbroken families of teenagers in Snowdonia accident hold vigil

Heartbroken families of four teenagers killed in Snowdonia accident visit the crash site to hold a vigil for the sixth form students

  • Local shopkeeper said boys ‘seemed to be in a really good mood’ before crash 
  • READ MORE: Teen found dead with friends in crash dreamt of opening bakery

The heartbroken families of four teenagers killed in an accident near Snowdonia visited the crash site today to hold a vigil for the six form students.

The parents of Harvey Owen, 17, Jevon Hirst, 16, Wilf Fitchett, 17, and Hugo Morris, held a vigil in the North Wales country lane where their loved ones died.

Officers investigating the fatal accident accompanied the relatives at the visit shortly after 1pm.

Traffic was brought to halt, and the remote country road near the village of Garreg was closed for a short period.

A source close to the police investigation told MailOnline: ‘The families have come to the crash site to hold an impromptu vigil for their loved ones.’

The group of friends were found in their crashed silver Ford Fiesta near Snowdonia National Park on Tuesday after being reported missing.

On Sunday, they stopped off at Premier Foods in Harlech, a small coastal town where they had stayed with a friend’s grandfather the night before.

A worker there reported seeing the boys in high spirits as they bought coal and pasta before heading off on their fateful journey to the national park around midday.

Their mobile phones are thought to have stopped sending and receiving messages shortly after their trip to the local shop.

Their parents grew frantic with worry when they stopped responding to messages at around midday on Sunday – and reported them missing a day later when they didn’t return home to Shrewsbury as planned.

The hunt ended in tragedy when their vehicle was spotted on its roof near the village of Garreg, partially submerged in a ditch off a remote road almost two days after their last contact. 

The group of students are thought to have stopped a Premier Foods (pictured) at around midday on Sunday, before beginning their journey into the mountains

Police at the crash site on the A4085 that claimed the lives of the four young men. The ditch the car fell into is at the bottom of the image

A heartbroken town has gathered together for a candlelit vigil in remembrance of four teens killed in a car crash in North Wales. Pictured: Harvey Owen (left) and Wilf Fitchett (right)

The bodies of Jevon Hirst (left), Hugo Morris (right), Harvey Owen and Wilf Fitchett were found in their crashed silver Ford Fiesta near Snowdonia National Park yesterday

Local farmer Rhys Williams said that the ditch usually has a foot or two of water in it – but there may have been as much as six feet of water in it at the time of the tragedy

Police survey the site of the crash that claimed the lives of the four teens sometime between Sunday morning and Tuesday morning

Pictures of the four boys surrounded by candles at Shrewsbury Abbey on Wednesday 

Shopkeeper Lucy Jones told The Sun: ‘They were happy, laughing and joking around. They were arguing, saying “I can’t afford this, I can’t afford that.” 

‘But they all seemed to be in a really good mood.’ 

READ MORE: Tragic deaths of four teenagers killed in Snowdonia car crash came just months after death of two other students from same group of colleges

Local farmer Rhys Williams, who lives at Garreg Hyll Drem Farm yards from where the car was found, said weather conditions had been ‘brutal’ on Sunday, when the young men lost contact with their families – speculating that the ditch may have been six feet deep in water.

It has since emerged that the crash could have also claimed a fifth victim if Mr Morris’ best friend, a local 19-year-old, hadn’t pulled out of the fatal camping trip at the last minute. 

It is thought that the car came off of the A4085 on a sharp bend, flipping into a ditch that had been flooded by two days of rain, at some point after they had been seen leaving Harlech at around 11am on Sunday morning.

The ditch, Mr Williams said, often has ‘a foot or two’ of water in it, but added that heavy rain can see the ditch filled with as much as six feet of water. 

Speaking to the Mirror, the farmer said: ‘They were so unlucky, the way the car went in. It has gone into the ditch, low into the ditch.

‘It was bad on Friday and Saturday, the river had gone high quickly. But by Tuesday morning the level had come down. They were so unlucky.’

He added: ‘They must have been going from Harlech north towards Snowdonia. This is one of two roads they could have taken. There are no tracks on the road, nothing to be seen. It’s a sharp bend, it narrows. There were lots of leaves on that corner.’ 

Photographs of the boys, a sympathy card and candles were placed at an alter inside Shrewsbury Abbey, where people were being invited to pay their respects on Wednesday

A man lights a candle at Shrewsbury Abbey on Wednesday in memory of Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett and Hugo Morris

Flowers and tributes are left at Garrett village war memorial for the four boys killed in the crash

The car was spotted, overturned and partially submerged, by a passenger in a bin lorry on Tuesday. 

In Shrewsbury, where the four boys lived, mourners gathered to remember them at a vigil on Wednesday. As candles were lit and flowers were laid, it emerged that Hugo Morris’ best friend, a 19-year-old in the town, had been set to travel with them.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports that he changed his mind at the last minute, according to one visitor to Shrewsbury Abbey.

READ MORE: Owner of Welsh farm where four teens died in car crash describes horrific bad luck of them skidding on wet road with no trees to stop them rolling into ditch temporarily swollen by ‘brutal’ rain – as it emerges pal pulled out of camping trip at last minute

Mimi Ropotka, who worked with Mr Morris at the town’s Pret A Manger cafe, said of the unnamed elder teen: ‘He can’t believe he has lost his friend so suddenly and tragically,’ adding that he was in a ‘really bad way’.

A search was launched for the boys after they failed to return home to Shropshire from an overnight camping trip.

Police and underwater specialists are continuing to search the crash site as they try to determine how the vehicle ended up off the road and into the river. 

But as investigators carry out their probe, those in the boys’ home community of Shrewsbury are mourning their deaths and trying to make sense of the tragedy.

The town has delayed the start of its Christmas lights event as locals instead lay flowers, light candles and pay tribute to the four teens with heartfelt messages of ‘love you’ and ‘rest in peace’.

Dozens of students lit candles in honour of the boys at Shrewsbury Abbey on Wednesday as they paid their respects following the ‘utterly devastating’ crash.

Mourners stood in silence at the church alter as they laid flowers and issued prayers for the teens’ loved ones. 

‘It’s impacting everyone, this is a tight-knit community where many of the young people have been at school together since they were four years old,’ Reverend Charlotte Gompertz, the vicar of Shelton and Oxon, told the BBC.

She said it is going to take a ‘long time’ for the community to ‘get our heads even vaguely around this tragedy’.

Similarly, church administrator Steve Swindon said that what locals are facing is ‘hard to contemplate’ and reiterated that Shrewsbury Abbey is ‘here for everybody’.

The Abbey was open all day for prayer and reflection. Trinity Churches also offered ‘time and space to pray’ at the Trinity Centre in Meole Brace.

Dozens of students lit candles in honour of the boys at Shrewsbury Abbey as they paid their respects following the ‘utterly devastating’ crash. Pictured: The memorial in the church

Locals paid tribute to the four boys at Shrewsbury Abbey in Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Mourners stood in silence at the church alter as they laid flowers and issued prayers for the families of the deceased boys. Pictured: A man pays his respects at Shrewsbury Abbey

The memorial for Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett and Hugo Morris at Trinity Churches Shrewsbury which offered locals ‘time and space to pray’

The car was found on the A4085, which winds its way between Garreg and Nantmor. Locals described the driving conditions on Sunday as treacherous

Shrewsbury Colleges Group, where the boys were A-level students, offered ‘deepest condolences to the family and friends’ of the teenagers and said it had put in place a range of support measures to help those affected.

READ MORE: Timeline reveals final moments of four teens who went missing on Snowdonia camping trip before they were found dead in crashed car

Bouquets of flowers, photos and emotional tributes have been left on the steps at the front of one of the college buildings in a makeshift memorial honouring the boys.

This evening’s Christmas lights switch-on had also been postponed by the town council to allow for time to grieve. The event has been delayed for a week.

Shrewbury’s MP Daniel Kawczynski said: ‘On behalf of all constituents in Shrewsbury and surrounding villages, I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the families and friends who have been tragically affected by this terrible loss of life.

‘The whole country were desperately hoping Jevon, Harvey, Wilf, and Hugo would be found safe and well and this news is devastating.

‘This news is truly heartbreaking, and my thoughts go out to all those affected.’

Staff at the Dough and Oil restaurant where Harvey worked also paid tribute to him.

In a post on Instagram, they described him as ‘easy-going, warm, funny, gentle, bright, hardworking and humble’.

Bouquets of flowers, photos and emotional tributes have been left at the Garrett village war memorial for the boys

One mourner left a bouquet with a note that reads, ‘I did not know you, but I will never forget you. God bless’

Shrewsbury Abbey in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, where members of the public can pay tribute after four teenagers who went to college in the town tragically died on a camping trip

A bouquet and handwritten note were left on the steps in memory of the boys

One local family left a note to the victims’ families and friends, saying they were in their thoughts and prayers 

Flowers and a letter are left on the steps of the Garrett village war memorial

Flowers and tributes are left at Garrett village war memorial for in remembrance of the students who died in the car crash

A bouquet is left on the steps of the war memorial in Garrett. Its message reads: ‘May God keep you in his care’

‘He gave it his all, developing a passion for dough and had dreams of one day opening his own bakery,’ they said.

‘Before shifts, or on his break, you’d often find him listening to music or his head in a book – unusually for his age enjoying the likes of The Doors and Jack Kerouac, always keen to chat and discover something new.

‘Our love, thoughts and condolences go out to Harvey’s family and to those of his friends, their lives full of promise cut so tragically short.’

Maddi Corfield, the girlfriend of Wilf, posted a tribute online, writing: ‘I love you so much, I’m going to miss you forever.

Teenager friends Harvey Owen, (left) Wilf Fitchett, Hugo Morris and Jevon Hirst (right) were last seen getting into a silver Ford Fiesta car on Sunday morning

Wilf Fitchett’s girlfriend Maddi Corfield released a heartbreaking tribute (pictured) to the sixth form student on Instagram earlier today. She described him as ‘my sweet angel’ and said she ‘can’t imagine my world without you’ 

The scene where the car left the road on the A4085 near Garreg, in North Wales. Pictured on Tuesday 

Police are pictured searching the crash site today in near Beddgelert, North Wales 

The entrance to the road was closed off by police on Tuesday after the discovery was made. Pictured: Police closing the road at Garreg to the south

‘The sweetest and most loving boy I’ve ever known. I hope you know how much I love you, gorgeous. 

READ MORE: Grief-stricken mother of teen, 17, found dead in crashed car after going on a camping trip says she is ‘in a nightmare she can’t wake up from’

‘Thank you for all the time you’ve spent with me… thank you for loving me endlessly. I promise I’ll do the same for you, my sweet, sweet angel.’

She added: ‘I can’t imagine my world without you. I’m missing you so much already, but I am going to enjoy life the way you would’ve wanted, the way that you made me feel.’

Her mother, Lisa Corfield, 37, said on Facebook: ‘I am absolutely heartbroken for Maddi and all of the families involved.

‘Wilf was such a lovely, kind lad and treated Maddi in a way only a mother could hope her daughter be treated.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also sent his condolences to the families, telling the Commons today: ‘I know the thoughts of the whole House will be with the family and friends of the four teenagers who died in a car accident in North Wales.’ 

A vigil was also held today in tiny Garreg to remember the teens. 

Rev. Roland Barnes said: ‘We feel for the families concerned. I don’t know how they’re coping, so sad, so tragic. 

On Tuesday, a crane was brought in to retrieve the vehicle from the crash site, where it was found upside down and partially submerged

A police officer investigates the scene in North Wales. The force have shut down the road again and have not said when it will reopen 

Police also blocked the road near Beddgellert, North Wales where four sixth form students were found dead in an overturned car

‘We felt it was important for us to come out here today and show our condolences to show that it’s touched the community and although we’re not physically with the family, we’re with the family in spirit. 

‘It was touching to see their photos. Young men full of life, sparkle in their eyes, coming out for an adventure in Wales, why not? 

‘We should encourage young people to jump in the car and have an adventure in Wales. It’s a wonderful thing but unfortunately this time it’s ended in tragedy.’

The touching tributes come as Harvey’s mother has described how she is living in a nightmare that she cannot wake up from.

Crystal Owen said: ‘I feel like I’m in a nightmare I wish I could wake up from but I’m not. I just wanted to say I do appreciate people’s kindness but no amount of messages is going to help me overcome this. 

‘Nothing will make this nightmare go away.’

Locals left a single candle lit overnight on a bridge near where the accident happened in Garreg, North Wales 

Sixth form student Harvey Owen, 17, (left) pictured with his family including mother Crystal, a cupcake shop owner (right). His grief-stricken mother said she is ‘in a nightmare’ following her son’s death  

A huge hunt for the missing boys ended in tragedy when their silver Ford Fiesta was discovered upside-down, partly in water, on Tuesday.

Police said the car ‘appeared to have left the road ‘on the narrow and winding A5085 at Garreg between the villages of Penrhyndaedraeth and Beddgelert.

Superintendent Owain Llewellyn said searches of the area where the car was found were continuing and the road would remain closed.

‘Our thoughts remain with the families at this extremely difficult time, and I would like to thank the public for their continued patience and understanding,’ he added.

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