Tributes have been paid to the three people killed in a crash that left two others seriously injured.
Police have said that Eve Smith, 21, Darcy Ross, 21 and Rafel Jeanne, 24, died in the accident while Sophie Russon, 20, and Shane Loughlin, 32, survived. All five were in a Volkswagen Tiguan that came off the A48(M) in Cardiff and crashed into trees.
The three women were last seen in Cardiff in the early hours of Saturday having travelled there from Porthcawl. They had earlier been in Newport and were reported missing to Gwent Police. The two men, who were from Cardiff, had also been reported missing by their families.
The group were last seen at around 2am on Saturday morning. The women, from Newport, had gone to The Muffler club in the Maesglas area of Newport late on Friday night.
They then travelled to Trecco Bay, a caravan park in the seaside resort of Porthcawl, Bridgend county, with the two men, before last being seen in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.
A police spokesperson said the VW Tiguan had been recovered just after midnight in the St Mellons area of Cardiff. Police believe the car was involved in a road traffic collision and came off the A48, but it is not clear exactly when that happened.
The A48(M) has been closed in both directions, near to the Cardiff Garden Centre, by the police. Photographs from the scene show large green fencing and tarpaulin has been erected around the crash site, which is among trees. People have also started arriving to leave floral tributes to those who died.
Tributes from family members
Tributes have been paid on social media with family members confirming their loved ones had died.
One relative of Miss Smith wrote: “I will not comment on anyone other than Eve Smith to confirm that she has been confirmed as deceased. Thank you for your support and shares and I won’t be answering messages please allow us some time as a family to digest this terrible news x.”
A friend of Miss Ross and Miss Smith wrote: “I don’t really have the words right now. Darcy Ross I’m going to miss you little gypsy girl. You were one of a kind, I’m going to miss trying to ‘life coach’ you as you would’ve said. You were a real ray of sunshine especially on my bad days.
“Eve Smith you were truly a beautiful young girl, who’s heart was made of gold just like your sister’s, give her a big hug for me and hold each other tight until the day we all have our turn and reunite.”
It has been reported that Eve Smith's sister Xana Doyle was killed in a car accident in 2018. The 19-year-old was a passenger in a Toyota Avensis driven by Sakhawat Ali, 23, which flipped and landed on its roof. He was more than twice the drink-drive limit and had been taking class A and B drugs before getting behind the wheel.
A friend of Mr Loughlin posted: “I’m so proud of us all pulling together out there searching for our dear friends last night. It’s heart breaking what’s happened to Rafel Jeanne and those two girls. My body is still shaking and I can’t stop being sick the thought of them all there all of that time.
“Many times I have driven past, it just makes me so sad and to how helpless our Shane Loughlin must of felt trapped inside. Wish Sophie a speedy recovery and I send all my love and strength to all the families involved.”
What have the police said?
Gwent Police said the two injured people were being treated in hospital for serious injuries.
“Specialist officers are supporting the families of those involved and enquiries are ongoing,” a force spokeswoman said. “The case has been referred to the IOPC in line with normal procedures.”
An IOPC spokesman said: “We can confirm that Gwent Police have advised us that they are making a referral in connection with this tragic incident and we will carry out an assessment in due course to determine what further action may be required from us.”
Later, South Wales Police said that at 12.15am on Monday officers were called to a report of a car being located off the A48(M).
“South Wales Police is carrying out an investigation into the road traffic collision to establish what happened,” a force spokesman said. “We would like to thank the public for their patience and their cooperation whilst the road is closed. Our thoughts are with those affected by this incident.”
Specialist officers are supporting the families of those involved and inquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, or send a direct message on social media, quoting 2300071791. The case has been referred to the IOPC in line with normal procedures.