Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Bin Laden family members 'incinerated' in plane crash

Raja Bashir Hashim (right), Sana Mohammed Bin Laden (left) and Zuhair Hashim (centre) Image copyright PA
Image caption Raja Bashir Hashim (right), Sana Mohammed Bin Laden (left) and Zuhair Hashim (centre) died in the crash

Three members of Osama Bin Laden's family died after their pilot became "overwhelmed" as he approached Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire, a court has heard.

A jury returned a narrative verdict at the inquest into the deaths of the family and pilot.

North Hampshire Coroner's Court was told the plane overshot the runway and burst into flames.

Coroner Andrew Bradley heard the victim's bodies were "incinerated".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Pilot Mazen Al-Aqeel Da'jah Salem had been flying the family from Milan, Italy, where they attended a wedding in Lake Como

The jet the victims were on crashed into a car auction site next to the airport in July 2015.

Bin Laden's brother-in-law, Zuhair Hashim, 56, half-sister, Sana Mohammed Bin Laden, 53, and her mother Raja Bashir Hashim, 75, were killed along with pilot Mazen Al-Aqeel Da'jah Salem, 58.

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Media caption'Bin Laden family on Blackbushe Airport crash plane'

Det Sgt Paula James of Hampshire Constabulary told the jury they all survived the crash impact but were "incredibly charred" by the fire and had to be identified using dental records.

The family had been travelling from Milan, Italy, having attended a wedding in Lake Como.

Sana's brother Saad Bin Laden told the court his last communication was a picture of all three of them sent that morning via WhatsApp.

Image copyright Tubman Thomas
Image caption The inquest heard the victim's bodies were "incinerated" in the blaze
Image copyright AirTeamImages.com
Image caption The Embraer Phenom 300 jet crashed onto a car auction site at Blackbushe Airport

A report previously published by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) said emergency warnings prior to landing may have "saturated the pilot's mental capacity".

The report added the aircraft, a Saudi-registered Phenom 300, landed too far down the runway because it was travelling 40 per cent faster than the recommended speed.

AAIB inspector Afandi Darlington told the inquest the Bin Laden family were found close to the plane door. The investigation didn't identify a technical cause for the accident.

'Horrendous noise'

A jury in Basingstoke heard evidence from the accident, including an eyewitness account.

John Goodey, who was working at a car auction site next to the airfield, said: "It flew over the fence, it was bouncing on all the roofs of the cars. The noise was horrendous."

He said he could see wires sparking off the back of the aircraft before it exploded.

Concluding, Mr Bradley said: "Blackbushe is not an all-singing, all-dancing airport and instructions from the control tower are not what you would get from Heathrow and Jeddah.

"He was approaching too fast, touching down at the wrong point, he's making a decision to continue with his landing until it's too late."

In a statement, the Bin Laden family said they were "devastated by this great loss, but nonetheless accept it was God's will to lose them".

"We accept the findings of the inquest and we would like to thank our friends and family for their continued support throughout this difficult time."

Image caption The crash happened on the border between Hampshire and Surrey

Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US and is believed to have had more than 50 brothers and sisters and many stepmothers.

The Bin Laden family disowned Osama in 1994 when Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship because of his militant activities. He was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

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