Kevin Beurle was a senior programmer in astronomy at Queen Mary University, London, where he worked on the Cassini satellite project studying Saturn.

Dr Beurle died on May 29, 2009 when the hot-air balloon he was travelling in over the mountains of eastern Turkey “rapidly lost altitude” from a height of 150m after colliding with another balloon.

The accident happened at around 6.15am, minutes after take-off, the inquest in Swansea heard.

The 53-year-old scientist who grew up in West Cross, Swansea, had been on an excursion to the Cappadocia area with his partner Juliet Boas at the time.

Ms Boas suffered fractures and nerve damage to her legs and spine in the accident.

She told the hearing: “Everything happened enormously suddenly.

“We went from having normal conversations to being told to take crash positions, by facing inwards, bending our knees and holding onto the ropes. That’s all I remember.”

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