An inquest into the death of two American tourists, who died when their rental car collided with an oncoming truck, heard evidence that gardaí do not believe they were following sat-nav directions to Blarney Castle when the collision happened.

Forensic collision investigator, Garda Dermot Carroll, told the inquest into the deaths of James Baker, 62, and Peggy Sue Adams, 58, that he retraced the last 500 metres of their journey on the N20 Limerick to Cork road near the Waterloo junction, using the last inputted destination on their Tom Tom sat-nav, Blarney Castle.

He told the coroner that when he tested it on the day of the fatal collision, the sat-nav directed him to continue straight on towards Cork city and take a later turn for Blarney using an underpass, rather than telling them to cross the northbound lane at the Waterloo junction, as happened in the fatal collision on 11 September, 2017.

The inquest had earlier heard a statement from survivor and driver Jack Adams, 68, who told gardaí he had no recollection of hearing any instructions from either Mr Baker or Ms Adams, who were providing him with directions, or from the sat-nav telling him to turn right for Blarney at the Waterloo junction.

He told the court how they were driving from Limerick to Cork on the N20 heading for Blarney Castle in a hired Skoda Octavia when, without warning, they were hit by a truck coming from Cork.

Both Mr Baker, who was the front-seat passenger, and Ms Adams, who was behind him, were killed.

Survivor Deborah Baker, who was sitting behind the driver, said she did not remember seeing the truck and did not remember hearing any screech of brakes before the collision, which had claimed the lives of her husband from Columbia City, Indiana and Ms Adams from Delphos, Ohio.

Truck driver Stephen Murphy, 36, told the inquest that he was driving from Cork to Mallow on the N20 in his articulated lorry when a car pulled into the turn lane coming against him and then suddenly veered across in front of him.

He said: "There was no way whatsoever I could have avoided this accident."

The inquest also heard evidence from sisters Kim and Kerri Coughlan, who were stopped in their Peugeot car at the mouth of the junction, waiting to exit onto the N20 when they were hit by the Skoda car after it was hit by the truck and launched into the air coming to land on their bonnet.

All three vehicles were found to be roadworthy and there was no evidence to suggest the crash was caused by a mechanical fault.

Evidence was heard that when Mr Murphy's tachograph was examined, gardaí found that he was travelling at 89km/h when he saw the car pull in front of him and he braked, slowing down to 60km/h at the point of impact within two seconds.

Garda Carroll said he could offer no explanation as to why Mr Adams opted to turn off at the Waterloo junction, and the test on the sat-nav suggested it was not a factor.

But he noticed when he was there that the sun was high in the sky to the south and he suggested it may have blinded the driver to the oncoming truck.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster said both Mr Baker and Ms Adams died from polytrauma due to injuries caused by a road traffic collision and such were their injuries that death would have been very rapid.

The jury of six men returned verdicts of accidental death in the case of both.

Coroner for south Cork Frank O'Connell extended his sympathies to both the Baker and Adams families, including Mr Baker's widow Deborah and daughters Brenda and Diane who attended the hearing.

Mr O'Connell had earlier told the jury that a full file including a forensic collision investigation report had been prepared on the crash by gardaí for the DPP, but the DPP had directed that there be no prosecution in the case.