Tragic teenager, 17, found dead alongside three friends after car crash on Welsh camping trip had dreams of opening a bakery like his mother – as tributes are paid at scene
- READ MORE: Vigil for four teens tragically found dead is held in Shrewsbury
One of the teenagers found dead alongside three friends after their car crashed on a camping trip had dreams of opening up his own bakery like his mother, it was revealed today.
Harvey Owen, 17, went on a camping trip with Jevon Hirst, 16, Wilf Fitchett, 17 and Hugo Morris, on Saturday and planned to camp in Snowdonia National Park on Sunday before returning home on Monday morning.
But 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 Ford Fiesta was spotted on its roof on Tuesday near the village of Garreg, partially submerged in a ditch off a remote road almost two days after their last contact.
As the local community in Shropshire comes to terms with the shock news of their deaths, Mr Owen’s former employer paid tribute to the teenager who had dreams of following in the footsteps of his mother, who runs a cupcake shop in Shrewsbury.
He worked part-time at Dough and Oil, a pizza restaurant in the town, while also studying for his A levels at Shrewsbury College.
Today his colleagues released a picture of Mr Owen, taken only a couple of weeks before his death, with a tribute to the ‘hardworking and humble’ student who they all had ‘soft spot’ for.
They revealed that Harvey started off working there as a pot washer before ‘earning his stripes’ and moving to work in the kitchen.
Harvey’s employer Dough and Oil, a pizza restaurant in Shrewsbury, paid tribute to the teenager on Instagram and revealed that he had dreams to open up his own bakery
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
Several bouquets of flowers and tributes were left alongside a photograph and candle at the memorial in Garreg, close to where the road was closed by police
Harvey Owen, 17, (pictured) from Shrewsbury, was among the four teenagers found dead in a submerged Ford Fiesta on Tuesday after going missing while on a camping trip near Snowdonia National Park
Police are pictured on the A4085 where the silver Fiesta belonging to the teenagers was found
Teenager friends (clockwise from top left) Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett, Hugo Morris and Jevon Hirst were last seen getting into a silver Ford Fiesta car on Sunday morning
A view of the crash site on the A4085 between Nantmor and Tan-Lan, Eryri National Park, North Wales
‘Before shifts or on his break you’d often find him listening to music or his head in a book – usually for his age enjoying the likes of The Doors and Jack Kerouac, always keen to chat and discover something new,’ they added.
Today, several bouquets of flowers and tributes were left alongside a photograph and candle at the memorial in Garreg, close to where the road was closed by police.
One tribute, from members of Holy Trinity Church in nearby Penrhyndeudraeth, read: ‘We pray for the four fine young boys, so tragically killed here in beautiful Wales.
‘May their spirits soar joyfully in the winds of freedom…our condolences to the families.’
Neighbours who live near the scene of the crash have also said they have ‘feelings of guilt’ over failing to spot their car.
Local councillor June Jones said: ‘So many people have contacted me saying “I drove past so many times and didn’t notice the car. If I had been there earlier I might have been able to help”. That’s the outpouring – they are feelings of guilt.
‘I want to thank the person who reported the car there and also the emergency services. They did a tremendous job to deal with the situation.’
It is understood the car could not be seen in the ditch from the road and it was a passing lorry driver who eventually spotted it on Monday morning from his raised cab.
The car left the road on a shallow bend and appears to have gone through a small area of shrub land before ending up in the ditch around 8ft below the road level. It does not appear to have hit any trees.
Tyre marks could be seen on the grass verge and there are also significant amounts of wet leaves on the roads.
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’
Harvey’s mother, Crystal Owen issued a heartbreaking statement on Facebook earlier today (pictured), saying ‘nothing will make this nightmare go away,’ after learning of her son’s death
Locals left a single candle lit overnight on a bridge near where the accident happened in Garreg, North Wales
Police are pictured searching the crash site today in near Beddgelert, North Wales
Police cordon off the road in North Wales as they investigate what caused their deaths
In an updated statement, superintendent Owain Llewellyn said: ‘As part of our investigations to establish the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the four young teenagers in the Garreg area we are continuing to carry out a detailed search of the area where the car was found.
‘As a result the A4058 will remain closed until we are satisfied all related property has been recovered.
‘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.
Divers from North Wales police’s underwater search team arrived at the scene shortly before 2pm.
The A4058 road is national speed limit, meaning cars can legally drive up to 60mph on it.
Harvey’s mother, Crystal Owen issued a heartbreaking statement, saying ‘nothing will make this nightmare go away,’ after learning of her son’s death.
She 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.’
When she first learned her son had gone missing, Ms Owen drove to Snowdonia to help with the search. She told reporters she had not been aware her son had gone camping, and would never had left him go ‘due to the winter weather conditions.’
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
The scene where the car left the road on the A4085 near Garreg, in North Wales. Pictured on Tuesday
Tributes also poured in from Wilf’s girlfriend Maddi Corfield, who described him as the ‘sweetest and most loving boy I’ve ever known’.
She said: ‘Thank you for all the time you have spent with me… thank you for loving me endlessly. I promise I’ll do the same for you, my sweet, sweet angel. I cannot imagine my world without you’.
A single candle was lit overnight on the wall of a bridge near where the accident happened.
Timeline of the four missing teenagers
A timeline of what we know so far about the missing teenagers:
Saturday November 18
Harvey Owen left home on Saturday night.
He told his mother he was staying at a friend’s grandfather’s house but he went on a camping trip.
It is understood the boys arrived in Harlech at 11pm before travelling to Snowdonia the next morning.
Sunday November 19
Harvey last used his mobile phone at around lunchtime, according to his mother.
Monday November 20
The boys are reported missing at after they fail to arrive home to Shropshire.
Worried parents say they have not had contact with their sons since the previous day.
In a now-deleted post on X, North Wales Police said it had ‘concerns’ for the teenagers and appealed for anyone who had seen their silver Ford Fiesta to get in touch.
A witness reports seeing someone dragging a tent in the Felinheli area, almost 25 miles away from Porthmadog.
Tuesday November 21
A coastguard helicopter from Caernarfon searches the area around the Glaslyn Nature Reserve, but returned to base with ‘nothing found’.
Neighbours in nearby Nantmor are woken to the pulsing sound of the helicopter circling overhead.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said the road the teens were travelling on was ‘very bendy’.
Police release statement in the evening saying they have ‘concerns’ about the missing teenagers.
A member of the public spots a silver Ford Fiesta upside down in the river next to the A4085 in Garreg, north Wales, and calls police.
Harvey’s mother drives to Snowdonia to help with the search.
Police say that following information from a member of the public, they had found the vehicle the teenagers were travelling in.
Police confirm four bodies had been recovered from the car after what they described as a ‘tragic accident’.
Police hold press conference outside St Asaph headquarters.
Supt Llewelyn tells reporters the Ford Fiesta was found on its roof ‘partially submerged in water’.
The officers went down into the water-logged ditch and adjacent boggy field, and used torches to go up and down the ditch, scouring the undergrowth.
A candlelit vigil will be held for the boys in Shropshire this evening, with churches in Shrewsbury opening their doors today to console the shocked community.
Shrewsbury Town Council has cancelled its Christmas lights switch-on following the death of the four teenagers. The event was due to take place this evening, starting at 4.30pm.
The council said: ‘Following the tragic news yesterday we have taken the respectful decision to cancel the lights switch-on, scheduled for this evening. Our thoughts go out to all who are caught up in this terrible tragedy.’
Reverend Charlotte Gompertz of Oxon Parish Church in Shrewsbury said the community was ‘utterly devastated’ by the news of their deaths.
She told BBC Radio 4 that the boys came from a very ‘tight-knit’ community’ where young people have known each other since they were ‘four years old’.
Reverend Gompertz said that she knew some the bereaved families, adding that they were ‘high-profile folks within the community’.
‘It’s going to take a long time for us to get our heads even vaguely heads round this tragedy,’ she added.
MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, Daniel Kawczynski, also paid tribute to the four teenagers, saying his ‘thoughts go out to all those affected by this tragic news.
‘The whole country were desperately hoping Jevon, Harvey, Wilf, and Hugo would be found safe and well and this news is devastating.’
It comes as fears grow that the group of teenagers lay undiscovered in their upturned car for up to 48 hours, as key questions over how the tragic accident happened still remain unanswered.
‘The plan seems to have been for them to camp in Snowdonia on Sunday evening, but it looks like they never made it to a campsite,’ said a source close to the investigation.
‘The car has left the road on a bend, it seems the driver lost control and ended up in water in a ditch.
‘The accident may have happened as early as midday on Sunday but police were not informed until more than 24 hours later that they were missing.
‘It is a very remote area and the weather was terrible so the car simply may not have been seen from the road.’
At around 11am on Sunday, the quartet left the area with the aim of camping in Snowdonia National Park; this was the last time they were seen alive.
The area in which the boys were camping is not believed to have a strong phone signal.
The mother of one of the boys said her last contact with her son had been at around midday on Sunday in Porthmadog, less than 10 miles from Harlech.
Cllr Jones, who was at the scene of the crash for most of the day yesterday, said it was not abnormal for people to be uncontactable in the area.
When asked about the length of time that it took to find the boys, she said: ‘We don’t have a good mobile signal, that is one thing that we are very aware of.
‘This valley here there is no mobile signal, so I think most of us assumed, ‘Oh they’re out of signal, they’ve gone camping, they’re having fun.”
Police believe that the car came off the road a short time later after it appeared to career off the ‘narrow and windy’ A4085 close to a bend.
After raising the alarm on Monday, the boy’s families pleaded with friends on social media to share missing persons appeals put out by North Wales Police.
The mother of 16-year-old Jevon Hirst, wrote on Facebook: ‘If anyone knows anything or can think of anything that may help find the boys, please contact the police. We are desperate for any news.’
The search took place over a vast and remote part of North Wales, with a coastguard helicopter and mountain rescue volunteers searching the national park overnight.
But it was a member of the public that then spotted the silver Ford Fiesta at around 10am on Tuesday, upside down and partially submerged in water, between Garreg and Port Aberglaslyn.
North Wales Police announced yesterday that four bodies had been recovered from the car, which is believed to have been travelling in dismal weather conditions.
When the news broke, tributes poured in for the boys, including from Maddi Corfrield’s mother Lisa, 37, who said he was ‘absolutely heartbroken’ for her daughter and ‘all of the boys family involved’ (sic).
‘Wilf was such a lovely kind lad and treated Maddi in a way only a mother could hope her daughter be treated,’ the grieving mother said.
Lisa added: ‘We will all miss you dearly Wilf. Thank you for bringing so much love and happiness into Maddi’s life and I promise to look after her for you.’
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)
Trinity Churches Shrewsbury is offering a space for people to remember the teenagers who died, displaying their pictures on a table surrounded by candles
Police were pictured investigating the scene today, where four young men died in North Wales. It is understood the car could not be seen in the ditch from the road and it was a passing lorry driver who eventually spotted it on Monday morning from his raised cab
On Tuesday, a crane was brought in to retrieve the vehicle from the crash site, where it was found upside down and partially submerged
Superintendent Owain Llewelyn said on Tuesday that the crash appeared to have been a ‘tragic accident’
The car was found on the A4085, which winds its way between Garreg and Nantmor. Locals described the driving conditions on Sunday as treacherous
Police cordoned off the A4085 near the village of Garreg on Tuesday following the discovery of their silver Ford Fiesta
Police also blocked the road near Beddgellert, North Wales where four sixth form students were found dead in an overturned car
DVLA records showed that a new logbook had been issued for the car at the end of August. Drivers can legally take to the road from the age of 17.
Last night Liz Saville Roberts, the local MP and Welsh Seredd 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.’
‘We would like to pay tribute to the emergency services and local mountain rescue teams involved in the search operation, and to members of the public for their assistance in helping to locate the vehicle.’
‘No words can sufficiently reflect the sorrow that this news brings to our whole community.’
Superintendent Owain Llewellyn of North Wales Police said on Tuesday afternoon: ‘Police officers located a Ford Fiesta on its roof, partially submerged in water.
‘Tragically, the bodies of four young males were found within the vehicle. The families of the missing boys have been informed. Our thoughts are with them at this desperate time.
‘While the search has concluded there is a search ongoing to formally identify those within the vehicle and understand what led to this tragic incident.’
Supt Llewellyn continued: ‘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. We would ask that the family be afforded the appropriate privacy and respect.’
Police cordoned off a four mile stretch of the A4085 between the villages of Garreg and Port Aberglaslyn, near Porthmadog, north Wales yesterday.
(left to right) Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett and Jevon Hirst. The students were studying for their A-Levels at college
A fire engine heading to the scene of the crash in north Wales after the vehicle was found
A flatbed lorry arrives at the scene of the tragedy to collect the vehicle for crash investigators on Tuesday. DVLA records showed that a new logbook had been issued for the car at the end of August. Drivers can legally take to the road from the age of 17
A police vehicle parked close to the scene of the quadruple tragedy earlier on Tuesday
Locals reported that a helicopter had been searching the Penrhyndeudraeth area before heading toward Nantmor and Beddgelert. The car was found at Garreg
Emyr Owen, who lives near the crash site, said that it had been ‘atrocious’ weather on the morning the boys went missing.
He told the BBC that police began combing the area at 5am and closed the roads. Ambulances entered the cordon at around 1pm, followed by a police forensics team.
Manasa Boma, manager at The Royal Goat Hotel in Beddgelert, close to the scene, said: ‘Our handyman messaged me to say there had been a terrible accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who’s involved’.
A spokesman for the police said the car had been located ‘following information from a member of the public’.
Officers and other emergency services are currently at the scene and that they keeping the teenager’s families updated with information, they added.
In a statement Shrewsbury Colleges Group, where the boys were all A-level pupils, said: ‘We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the four young men who tragically died in the suspected traffic accident.
‘This news is truly heartbreaking, and our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic news. We would like to thank the emergency services and local mountain rescue teams, as well as members of the public for their assistance in helping with the search and helping to locate the vehicle.
‘We will be working directly with students and staff who are affected by this terrible accident and have put in place a range of support measures for all of our community.’
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said yesterday: ‘We were called on Tuesday at approximately 10.08am to reports of an incident near the A4085 between Nantmor and Tan-Lan.
‘We sent an operations manager, two emergency ambulances and two Cymru high acuity response units to the scene where we were supported by the emergency medical retrieval and transfer service in two Wales Air Ambulance charity helicopters.’
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