Five British tourists were killed and 12 injured in a bus crash in Ecuador late on Saturday, the Foreign Office said on Sunday.
Four gap-year students and their guide died when their tour bus was in collision with another vehicle as they travelled from the capital Quito to the coastal town of Puerto Lopez.
Indira Swann, 18, Elizabeth Pincock, 19, Rebecca Logie, 19, Emily Sadler, 19, and tour leader Sarah Howard, 26, died in the crash, which happened at around 6 p.m. near the town of Jipijapa.
They were taking part in a trip organised by Warwick-based gap year specialist VentureCo, whose director Mark Davison told Sky News the younger four of the dead women had planned to start university in September.
They died within 30 minutes of their destination on a part of the road regarded as the “safer part” of the journey.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash.
Twelve Britons, a French national and two Ecuadoreans — a driver and a tour guide — were injured in the crash, the Foreign Office said. None of the injuries are believed to be critical.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the acting ambassador in Quito had arrived in Manta and was visiting the injured at a clinic where they were being treated for minor injuries.
They will return to Quito in the next day or two, and fly home to Britain when their condition permits, she said.