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Four teenagers killed on Snowdonia camping trip drowned after car overturned, inquest hears

Four teenagers killed in a crash while on a camping trip in North Wales died by drowning, an inquest has heard.

The bodies of Wilf Fitchett, Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen and Hugo Morris were discovered in an overturned car in a ditch near the village of Gwynedd in North Wales on 21 November.

It followed a major search operation for the four boys, all from Shrewsbury, who were last seen heading on a camping trip to Snowdonia on 19 November.

At an inquest opening in Caernarfon on Wednesday, Kate Robertson, HM Coroner for North West Wales, stated the provisional cause of their deaths was drowning.

None of the teenagers’ families were at the brief four-minute hearing.

Ms Robertson said: “The four young men were travelling in a vehicle along the A4085 at Llanfrothen when the vehicle has left the road. The circumstances of which resulted in the deaths of all four occupants.

Top left to right Hugo Morris, Jevon Hirst, Wilf Fitchett and Harvey Owen (Supplied)
Top left to right Hugo Morris, Jevon Hirst, Wilf Fitchett and Harvey Owen (Supplied)

“Post-mortem examinations have been undertaken and the provisional causes of death provided, pending inquests.”

She added: “I offer the families of Wilf, Jevon, Hugo and Harvey my sincerest condolences. These inquests will be adjourned pending completion of those further investigations.”

Last week, Superintendent Owain Llewellyn, from North Wales Police, said the crash appeared to be a “tragic accident” - but that the force did not know how the car left the windy A4085.

A police appeal was issued last week for dashcam footage from anyone travelling on the A4085 between Penrhyndeudraeth and Beddgelert in either direction between 11am on 19 November and 10am on 21 November.

Tributes to the four teenagers were left outside Shrewsbury College, where they all attended (PA)
Tributes to the four teenagers were left outside Shrewsbury College, where they all attended (PA)

The overturned Ford Fiesta was discovered by a passing binman two days after the teenagers went missing. A local farmer said the teenagers were “unlucky” the car didn’t avoid the flooded ditch by hitting a tree or fence as it careered from the road.

The death of the teenagers - one aged 16, two aged 17 and one aged 18 - has rocked their home town.

On Sunday, around 400 people attended a vigil in their memory at the town square of Shrewsbury after a minute’s applause was held ahead of Shrewsbury Town’s match with Port Vale on Saturday.

In the immediate days following the discovery of the teenagers’ bodies, floral tributes were laid outside Shrewsbury College, where they were all studying for their A-Levels, and remembrance candles were lit inside Shrewsbury Abbey.

Friends of the four teenagers paid their respects at Shrewsbury Abbey on the day after their bodies were found (The Independent)
Friends of the four teenagers paid their respects at Shrewsbury Abbey on the day after their bodies were found (The Independent)

Harvey’s mother Crystal, who runs a cupcake shop in the town, paid an emotional tribute to her son. She described her son as a “unique” and “special” teenager who touched “so many people” throughout his life.

Wilf’s girlfriend, Maddi Corfield, posted a tribute online, writing: “I love you so much, I’m going to miss you forever. The sweetest and most loving boy I’ve ever known. I hope you know how much I love you, gorgeous.”

No date has been set for the full inquest hearing.