Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Sunday, 19 April 2009 09:27 UK

Boy dies in Venezuela plane crash

Survivors of the air crash, one with her arm in a sling
Eight UK nationals survived the crash and were taken to hospital

A British boy has died and eight other UK nationals have been injured in a plane crash in Venezuela, the Foreign Office said.

Thomas Horne, six, from Camberley, Surrey, was killed and his parents were injured during the crash in the tourist destination of Canaima.

British Embassy staff are at the hospital in Cuidad Bolivar where the eight injured Britons have been taken.

The small Cessna crashed near the runway just after take-off on Friday.

But news of the crash only emerged on Saturday.

Survivors airlifted

The plane, a Cessna 208 Caravan, was travelling to Angel Falls, a popular tourist destination in the area.

The child died from head injuries while his father David Horne, 43, and mother Jane, 36, a former nurse, were taken to hospital.

The boy's aunt and uncle, June and Chris Holman, said: "Following the tragic death of Thomas, the thoughts of us all are with his parents Jane and Dave at this very sad time.

"I am sure you can appreciate that there is nothing worse than losing a loved one, especially not a young child with their whole life ahead of them.

Map of Venezuela

"It had gotten airborne and the engine failed," Venezuela's civil protection director Luis Diaz was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "It fell very close to the runway."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said those injured in the crash had been airlifted to hospital in Cuidad Bolivar, the nearest town to Canaima.

"Our ambassador and consular staff are providing assistance to the survivors in Cuidad Bolivar and staff in the UK are in contact with family members here."

The excursion to Angel Falls had been organised by tour operator First Choice. A spokeswoman for the holiday company said: "We would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to family and friends during this deeply sad time."

She added: "At this stage, we are unable to confirm exact details of the accident, however we can confirm that the customer was on an excursion organised by First Choice.

Angel Falls in Venezuela
The boy and his family had been travelling to Angel Falls

"Safety of our guests is our absolute priority and all flights with the aircraft operator, LTA (Aerotuey), have been suspended as a full investigation into this incident is launched.

"First Choice resort staff are offering support and assistance to the families of those involved and will endeavour to do everything they can for them at this difficult time."

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the crash, although initial reports mentioned possible engine failure.




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