Fatal Venezuela Plane Crash Probed

Canaima Angel Falls Crash

20.04.2009

A plane crash in Venezuela which killed a six-year-old British boy and injured eight other UK nationals is being looked into by air accident investigators, it has been revealed.

Thomas Horne was among the passengers of a Cessna bound for the popular tourist destination Angel Falls when it crashed shortly after take-off near Canaima, in the south of the country.

Civil protection director Luis Diaz said the boy was travelling with his parents, Dave and Jane Horne, as well as other tourists.

The injured travellers were airlifted to hospital in Cuidad Bolivar, the nearest town to Canaima. Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

The boy's aunt and uncle, June and Chris Holman, said his parents were devastated and asked for privacy.

A spokeswoman for tour operator First Choice, which had organised the expedition to Angel Falls, said: "We would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to family and friends during this deeply sad time."

"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.

The firm said the safety of its guests was a top priority and all flights with the aircraft operator, LTA (Aerotuey), had been suspended while an investigation took place.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

The death of a 6 year old boy when a Cessna plane crashed in Venezuela last Friday has left a family distraught. Early reports suggest that the aircraft suffered engine failure as it took off en route to see the Angel Falls, a popular tourist attraction in the area. While all of the other passengers and crew survived with injuries of varying degrees, Thomas Horne, from Camberley in Surrey, died while being taken from the site of the crash to hospital. The flight was part of an excursion arranged by First Choice, the UK tour operator.

Clive Garner, Head of Irwin Mitchell’s International Travel Litigation Group, said “Aviation safety must be treated as a matter of paramount given the potential consequences if something goes wrong. I am pleased to see that LTA (Aerotuey) has suspended all flights while the circumstances of this accident are investigated. It is critically important to understand why this incident occurred and whether any lessons can be learned to avoid similar incidents in the future. The Cessna is a very popular aircraft flown in many countries all around the World. Generally it has a very good safety record but sadly I and my colleagues have acted for the victims and families of a number of passengers injured or killed in several accidents involving Cessna aircraft where either poor maintenance or pilot error have been the cause. All of those effected by this tragic incident will want to know what has gone wrong in this tragedy in Venezuela."