FOUR close friends from the Huddersfield area died in a helicopter crash, an inquest was told.
The deaths of a father, his son and two friends when their helicopter crashed in poor weather were accidental, the inquest jury of four men and four women decided.
Rapidly worsening conditions led to the aircraft hitting hilly ground near Kendal, Cumbria, just eight minutes after setting off in relatively calm weather.
Peter Patrick, 68, from Arkholme, near Carnforth, Lancashire; his son Anderson Patrick, 37, of Askwith, near Otley; Tim Newburn, 39, of Brighouse; and Gary Priestley, 39, of Hipperholme, all died of multiple injuries.
The Robinson R44 helicopter was circling about a quarter of a mile from junction 36 of the M6 motorway seconds before impact as it tried to fly out of low-lying cloud on August 3 last year.
Mr Patrick senior was chairman of Huddersfield company Termrim Construction Ltd his son, known as Andy, was its managing director.
Mr Patrick junior lived with wife, Jill, and three children. Grace, four, Abby, three, and one-year-old Jonty.
Peter Patrick lived with his wife Rita. They also have a daughter, Nicola, who lives in Thirsk. She has two children, Daniel and Laura.
Mr Priestley, a mobile phone engineer, had three children, Steven, 17, Nicola, 19, and Joanna, 11. He had been with his partner, Tracy Murgatroyd, for 21 years.
Mr Newburn was single and had a 10-year-old daughter. He ran his own business, TM Newburn Electrical Engineers, in Bailiff Bridge.
The friends were flying to a shooting event in Scotland when the tragedy happened.
Air accident investigator Tony Severs told the hearing in Kendal that the instrument-free helicopter was not equipped to fly in cloud. Also the pilots, Mr Patrick junior and Mr Newburn, were not experienced enough to handle such poor weather.
The helicopter was also flying at a totally inappropriate speed of about 120mph shortly before the crash, Mr Severs added.
In directing the jury to return accidental death verdicts South Cumbria Coroner Ian Smith said: “The truth, in my view, is that the pilots were flying beyond their capabilities because of the weather. This helicopter could not negotiate foul weather.
“The pilots were fully qualified and had kept up their flying hours, but they got into a situation which they did not really know how to handle.”
After the hearing Nicola paid tribute to her father and brother. She said: “They were just two such dynamic and charismatic men.
“Peter was a devoted husband, father and grandfather while Andy was a devoted husband and father. They will be sorely missed.”
Kim Newburn, Mr Newburn’s brother, said: “The verdicts were what we expected. It is sad for all the families but we’ll move forward now.
“My brother was the best; we were great friends.”