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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 00:16 GMT
Rugby league players killed in crash
Late Wigan Warriors players Craig Johnson (left) and Billy Joe Edwards
The players died when their car overturned
Two Wigan Warriors rugby league players have been killed in a car crash.

The Super League club said Billy Joe Edwards and Craig Johnson died when their vehicle hit a wall and overturned in the Tottington area of Bury just after 0000 GMT on Sunday.

The duo, who were members of the academy side, were the brothers of Wigan and Great Britain legend Shaun Edwards and current Warriors and Lions star Paul Johnson.

Both of these lads were a delight

Wigan club chairman
Maurice Lindsay

News of the players' deaths was announced ahead of Sunday's Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Halton Simms Cross.

"It was difficult day for the players," said Wigan coach Stuart Raper. "They are a close-knit bunch of guys and this tragedy has affected the club deeply.

"Our thoughts are with the families and we'll do everything we can to help."

Club chairman Maurice Lindsay added: "It is a tragedy and our first thoughts and condolences go to Mr and Mrs Edwards and the Johnson family."

On Tuesday, Craig's family released a statement paying tribute to their son.

"Craig was a wonderful son, brother and friend who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. He was so full of life and loved his rugby, he had such a bright future ahead of him," the statement said.

"The entire family is devastated by Craig's death and we cannot begin to explain the impact it's had on our lives."

One of the men was cut from the wreckage of the Peugeot 106 by fire crews but was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Driver arrested

It is thought the other died instantly.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash, which happened in Turton Road just after midnight on Sunday.

It was the second fatal car crash in Bury in just over 24 hours.

An 18-year-old man died in Whalley Road, Shuttleworth, near Bury, at about 2200 GMT on Friday when the car he was travelling in hit a lamppost.

The 36-year-old driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Three back seat passengers and the driver escaped with minor injuries.

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The BBC's Stuart Flinders
"Their club has been hit hard by the news"

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