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Tributes flow for couple found dead at waterfall: 'Devastated'

A couple who drowned in a waterfall while on a New Year's holiday were described this week as "devoted, selfless, and loving" by their shocked families.

The bodies of Rachael Patching, 33, and Helen, 52, were discovered five days after they both went missing after plunging into a waterfall at a beauty spot in Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

Their families paid tribute to the loving couple whose “endless laughter will be forever remembered by all who had the honour to know them”.

Source: WNS/Australscope
Rachael and Helen were keen travellers who had spent time in Australia. Source: WNS/Australscope

Rachael and Helen had travelled more than 300km from the Kent area to visit Wales and Ystradfellte Falls on holiday.

"We are devastated to have suffered such an immeasurable loss following the news of Rachael and Helen’s passing at just 33 and 52," a joint statement from their family read. "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. There are no words that can express enough how highly they were both thought of by family members, friends, and colleagues."

Source: WNS/Australscope
The couple had been visiting the falls on January 4 when they disappeared. Source: WNS/Australscope

Bodies found days apart

The alarm was raised at around 11.45am on Wednesday and a massive search was launched. One body was found the same day, on January 4, and the second four days later on January 8.

The family thanked police, rescue crews and volunteers for their efforts, and asked for time to grieve privately.

The fire service, mountain rescue and National Police Air Support were all involved in the search, with Dyfed-Powys Police said it was made difficult by "high, fast flowing water" on the waterfall walk.

Source: WNS/Australscope
The women's bodies were found several days apart in the fast flowing, freezing water. Source: WNS/Australscope

Ystradfellte Four Waterfalls Walk is a 7.2km trail rated as "moderate" difficulty. But one regular walker said it is "notoriously slippery" on the rocks.

The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

An inquest is due to be held into the double tragedy.


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