Four police officers died from burns and breathing in smoke after a horror car crash, an inquest has heard.
The details were revealed in Coroner’s Court papers released ahead of an inquest into the deaths of policemen Kevin Gorman (24), James Magee (27), Kenny Irvine (30) and Declan Greene (39) in November 2008.
The policemen died after the Mitsubishi Shogun they were travelling in smashed into a wall and burst into flames at Moygannon Road near Warrenpoint as they responded to a call to assist fellow officers.
The four PSNI men, who all lived in the Mourne area, died after being trapped inside their burning vehicle despite the frantic rescue efforts of passers-by.
At a preliminary hearing held in Belfast yesterday, coroner Suzanne Anderson confirmed the inquest will examine the “suitability and safety of the type of vehicle” involved in the accident.
The coroner also revealed that she will examine “the manner in which the vehicle was being driven” when the tragedy occurred and the “inability of the occupants to escape” after the crash.
Yesterday’s hearing was adjourned to allow time for relevant papers to be handed over to solicitors representing the families of those who died.
During the hearing, barrister Turlough Montague, representing PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott, said every effort would be made to co-operate with the inquest. “The Chief Constable is anxious the families have every piece of information they so wish,” he said.
The preliminary hearing is expected to resume on a date to be fixed in September.