Six-year-old boy on vacation in Venezuela dies in plane crash

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

File photo of a Cessna 208 Grand Caravan similar to the one which crashed.

Six-year-old Thomas David Horne from the United Kingdom has died and eleven other British tourists were injured Friday when their plane crashed in Canaima National Park in Venezuela. They were on a sight seeing tour of the world's tallest waterfalls, the Angel Falls.

The single engine, nine-seater Cessna 208 Caravan, lifted off shortly before the end of the runway, lost power, and then surged briefly before plummeting into the Venezuelan jungle in front of the 3,200 ft falls.

"It started to take off and we sensed it was losing power. Then it seemed to get it back and lifted off just 200 metres before the end of the runway. Then it dived into the trees," reported Makeli Freire, a park tour guide.

Three of the injured sustained serious injuries, while the others suffered mainly broken bones. Thomas Horne, who sustained serious head injuries, died on the way to a local hospital. The pilot, co-pilot and tour guide were among the injured. Everyone on board was flown to Ciudad Bolívar, the capital city of Venezuela's Bolívar state, where they were treated for their injuries. Among the injured were Thomas's mother and father Jane and David who were among those who had broken bones. They were British tourists finishing up a two week holiday to Venezuela.

"The young boy died as he was being flown to hospital. His parents are both physically OK but are completely distraught over the loss of their son," said Maiker Puga, of the Ciudad Bolivar clinic.

Liz and her husband Keith Grainger and S. Phillips, also British tourists, were also injured in the crash. The names of the three other British tourists and the three person crew who were injured have not been released at this time.

The plane tour was offered by First Choice, a division of TUI Travel PLC who extended their "heartfelt sympathy to family and friends during this deeply sad time." LTA airline has suspended further flights until the investigation is concluded.

June Holman, Thomas's aunt who was not on holidays said, that "there is nothing worse than losing a loved one, especially not a young child with their whole life ahead of them. The thoughts of us all are with his parents Jane and Dave at this very sad time."

A partly clouded view of Angel falls in the morning.
Image: Jlazovskis.


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