Botswana crash victims were Swiss, not Swedish: travel agency
Published: 18 Oct 2011 09:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Oct 2011 10:55 GMT+02:00
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Late Monday night, Swedish and international media agencies reported that three Swedes were among the victims of a plane crash in Botswana.
At least eight foreigners were killed when their tourist plane crashed following take-off near an airstrip in north Botswana's Okavango Delta on Friday.
“Three Swedes, two women and a man, died,” Modipe Nkwe of the Botswana civil Aviation Authority, told the Expressen newspaper on Monday.
“They died instantly in the crash. The airplane slammed into the ground and caught fire. Emergency crews arrived too late.”
But Travel world, the travel agency which arranged the trip, announced on Tuesday that no Swedes had been on board the flight and that the victims initially thought to be Swedish were in fact from Switzerland.
Sweden's consul in Botswana, Abdool Rahim Khan, confirmed for the TT news agency that someone had mixed up the two countries.
"The journalist who first wrote about the accident says now that the victims were actually from Switzerland," Rahim Khan told TT.
He added that he has yet to receive a passenger list from the airline the tourists were flying with so he can confirm the information.
The Swedish foreign ministry has also told TT that it appears a mistake was made.
Altogether three Swiss, two French and two Britons died when the Cessna 208 plane crashed and burst into flames on Friday, said Chris Nkwe, spokesman for Botswana's Civil Aviation Authority.
In Paris, however, the French foreign ministry said in a statement that three, not two, French nationals had been killed.
According to Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, seven victims died inside the aircraft, while another died in hospital after jumping from the craft before it hit the ground.
Media reports also said one of the victims was the British pilot.
It was not immediately clear how many people were on board, but there were only four survivors -- a French couple and two Botswana nationals, according to officials.
The plane, operated by Moremi Air Charters, was heading to the island of Pom Pom, a luxurious safari destination in the north, but crashed shortly after take off.
The French couple who survived the crash were airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg, where they were treated for burns and other injuries.
The respective embassies of the deceased have been notified, said Nkwe.
Sue Smart, chief executive officer of Moremi Air Charters, said the private airline in the Okavango Delta had temporarily grounded its fleet pending an investigation.
Nkwe said a team of investigators had been sent to the scene.
Botswana's Okavango Delta is a high-end tourist destination, popular with foreign visitors.