Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Married couple whose bodies were pulled from river named after tragedy

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The two women who died at a waterfall in the Brecon Beacons National Park have been named as their families pay tribute to the loving couple. Rachael and Helen Patching were visiting Wales on holiday when there were reports of two people in the water at the Ystradfellte Falls in Powys. The bodies of Rachael, 33, and Helen, 52, were recovered from the river in the days that followed.

Their families have issued a joint statement paying tribute to the couple and thanking those who tried to come to their aid.

They said: “We are devastated to have suffered such an immeasurable loss following the news of Rachael and Helen’s passing at just 33 and 52. They were such a devoted, selfless, and loving couple having had an immensely positive impact on all those they met.

“Their love for animals and dedication to caring for them so lovingly over the years made them a truly admirable credit to themselves and society. Their endless laughter will be forever remembered by all who had the honour to know them.

“There are no words that can express enough how highly they were both thought of by family members, friends, and colleagues.

“We would like to thank all those who have provided such generous support and guidance, including the unwavering commitment of the Brecon Beacons Mountain Rescue volunteers, the police, National Police Air Support, Mid and West Wales Fire Service, Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Ambulance Service, and Powys County Council for helping so selflessly at such a difficult time.

“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

The pair were at Ystradfellte Falls in Powys, known as the Four Waterfalls Walk, a popular route with tourists.

After a search effort involving police, the fire service and mountain rescue, their bodies were recovered from the water in the following days.

The search ended on Sunday 8 January after a second body was found in a river in the Glynneath area.

Dyfed-Powys Police said: “We can confirm that officers searching for two women who are believed to have entered the water in the Ystradfellte area on Wednesday (4 January) sadly recovered a second body from the river in the Glynneath area on Sunday.

“We would like to the thank colleagues from mountain rescue, the fire service and members of the public for their support during what has been a difficult operation.”

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team said high levels of very fast-flowing water in the river along with deteriorating weather conditions provided many challenges to both the search and the recovery.

The Ystradfellte Falls are a series of four waterfalls set within Brecon Beacons National Park, which are linked by a walking path and popular with tourists and day-trippers.

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