Northampton

Northampton inquest told crashed plane 'out of fuel'

One person was taken to Cherbourg for treatment - Pic French Navy
Image caption Three people were taken from the water but only Mr Wilkinson survived

An aircraft which crashed off the coast of France, killing two men, probably ran out of fuel, a coroner in Northampton has ruled.

Pilot Rodney Badham, 65, of Braunston, Northants, and Christopher Davis, 28, of Little Aston, near Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, died in the accident.

Owner Mark Wilkinson survived when the plane crashed into the sea just north of Cherbourg on 23 January 2008.

Northamptonshire Coroner Anne Pember recorded a narrative verdict.

She said: "Rodney Badham was the pilot and Christopher Davis a passenger in a Beech Baron twin engine aeroplane.

"The plane took off from Coventry Airport with approximately a quarter tank of fuel on a journey to France.

"The plane got into difficulties over the Channel and landed in the sea about 16 miles north of Cherbourg.

"It is likely that the plane ran out of fuel, resulting in the deaths of both men by drowning."

Hour of fuel

An inquest at Northampton General Hospital heard the aircraft set off from Coventry Airport.

The trio were due to fly to Guernsey to refuel, then continue to France, but over the Channel one engine cut out, then the other started to have difficulties.

The inquest heard the plane crashed into the sea, sparking a rescue by French authorities.

All three were rescued from the water, but only Mr Wilkinson, of Brigstock, Kettering, survived.

Mr Wilkinson told the inquest Mr Badham treated the plane as his own and took care of refuelling and maintenance.

Julian Firth, from the Air Accident Investigation Branch, said based on the evidence, the plane would have had about an hour of fuel when it set off.

He said it crashed as a "probable consequence of running out of fuel".

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