A hot air balloon crash in Turkey which killed a space scientist could have been averted, a coroner has said.

Swansea-born Kevin Beurle, 53, died when the balloon touched the basket of one above it, at about 150-200m.

Swansea coroner Philip Rogers said he did not think it would have happened if they had taken off further apart or with a bigger time gap, the BBC reported.

Criminal proceedings against two pilots meant he could only record an accidental death verdict.

A pilot and nine passengers were hurt in the incident, including Dr Beurle’s partner.

They were among a group of 33 tourists who took off in three hot air balloons within two or three minutes of each other in Cappadocia in central Turkey in May 2009.

The inquest was told that weather conditions were good but within minutes of take-off the balloon carrying Dr Beurle made contact with the basket of the one above, creating a tear.

Passengers were told to get ready for a crash landing as the pilot used burners to try to fill the balloon with hot air to slow its fall.

Dr Beurle, who worked at Queen Mary University, London, died of multiple injuries.

An air accident report later described the probable cause as “attributable to air currents as a result of sudden changes in meteorological conditions after take-off”.