Botswana air crash kills European tourists

Oct 18 2011

Seven European tourists have died in a plane crash in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana, officials say.

The Cessna 208 came down shortly after take off on Friday from the Xakanaxa airfield, in a nature reserve in the north of the country, said the country's Civil Aviation Authority.

The dead included three Swedes, three French people and a British tourist. Their British pilot was also killed.

Two French tourists and two Botswana nationals survived the crash.

Local media reported that the two Botswanans on board the Moremi Air charter flight were officials from the Department of Road Transport and Safety.

The crash happened at about 12:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Friday.

The plane was heading to Pom Pom, a safari destination. The area is famous for its natural beauty and is popular with foreign tourists and wildlife enthusiasts.

Officials said the cause of the crash was not yet known, and that the transport ministry was investigating.

Moremi Air's Sue Smart said in a statement that the company's fleet would be grounded while the investigation was carried out.

She said the pilot who died was the airline's most experienced, with more than 12,000 hours of flying.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC

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