Three people who died when a light aircraft crashed beside a railway line were identified with the aid of jewellery found at the scene, an inquest heard.
The hearing in Stafford was also told that the investigation into last Friday’s crash in nearby Little Haywood may take more than a year to complete.
Pilot Alan Matthews, aged 59, from Walsall, died along with his passengers, Nick O’Brien, aged 35, and his 29-year-old wife Emma, from Shirley, Solihull.
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh, who adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed, was told that Mr O’Brien’s Ford car was found at the airfield where the Piper Cherokee aircraft was based.
Coroner’s officer Howard Carter told the hearing that Mr Matthews’s wife, Jennifer, had confirmed that her husband was flying on the day of the crash and had said he was meeting two friends to take them in his plane.
Rings known to belong to each of the victims were used to help establish their identities, Mr Carter added.
“The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has been brought in, the damaged aeroplane has been removed for further examination, and it will take a considerable while for them to complete their examinations”.