12 Jun Two British tourists aged 19 and their driver, 22, are killed in horror crash
Revealed: Two British tourists aged 19, who were killed along with their driver in horror car crash in Bolivia, were former grammar school pupils on a gap year from college
- Freddie Michael McLennan and George Joseph Atkins, both 19, died in the crash
- Toyota Land Cruiser ‘driving over the speed limit’ when it flipped over on Sunday
- The boys were travelling around South America on a gap year after their A-levels
Published: 22:30 BST, 11 June 2019 | Updated: 22:51 BST, 11 June 2019
Two British gap year students died after their car flipped over on the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia.
Former grammar school pupils Freddie Michael McLennan and George Joseph Atkins, both 19, were killed in the horror crash on the Salar de Uyuni, the main tourist destination in southern Bolivia.
Their Toyota Land Cruiser was apparently driving over the speed limit when it flipped over, killing the two teenagers and their 22-year-old driver on Sunday night, traffic police commander Colonel Bernardo Isnado said.
Former grammar school pupils Freddie Michael McLennan and George Joseph Atkins, both 19, were killed in the horror crash on the Salar de Uyuni, the main tourist destination in southern Bolivia
Police say their vehicle appears to have been travelling over the speed limit when it flipped over on the salts flats on Sunday night
The pair, from Cranbrook, Kent, were travelling around South America on a gap year after completing their A-levels at Cranbrook School last summer.
Another 19-year-old Briton, who was injured in the crash, was also a former pupil at the school, one of the country’s few state-funded boarding grammars. His name has not been released.
Cranbrook School’s notable alumni include comedian Harry Hill and Nasa astronaut Piers Sellers, who took a copy of the school charter into space with him in 2003.
The injured British teenager was taken to Jose Eduardo Perez Hospital in Uyuni, about 340 miles south of the Bolivian capital of La Paz. A parent is believed to be flying out to Bolivia to be by his side.
Three others were also injured in the crash: Two Argentinians, who have been named as Walter Rossi, 22, and Francisco Ceruti, 21, and Uruguayan Gabriel Martinez Bueno, 26. Driver Luis Alberto Barco died in the tragedy.
Another 19-year-old Briton, who was injured in the crash was taken to Jose Eduardo Perez Hospital in Uyuni, about 340 miles south of the Bolivian capital of La Paz
Freddie Michael McLennan and George Joseph Atkins, both 19, died alongside 22-year-old Alberto Barco in a crash on Salar du Uyuni in southern Bolivia
Mr Isnado told journalists: ‘Circumstances are being investigated, but according to the preliminary investigations there was an excess of speed.’
Photos and footage posted online showed the mangled wreckage of a black 4×4.
Police did not give any information about the conditions of those injured in the crash.
Mr Isnado added: ‘The present case is under investigation; it has been brought to the attention of the Public Ministry.’
Local reports said accidents on Bolivian roads cause around 1,000 deaths and 40,000 injuries each year. It is not known how long the pair had been travelling, but Mr McLennan had tweeted about being in South America in April.
Salar du Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and one of Bolivia’s main tourist attractions
On Facebook his mother Miranda Porritt describes herself as a clinical nurse specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mr Atkins went to Marlborough House School, a preparatory school in Cranbrook. The Salar de Uyuni was left behind by prehistoric lakes evaporated long ago. Due to its size, it is used as a major transport route and cars are permitted to travel across it.
Dozens of tour companies operate on the salt flats, with the majority based in the nearby town of Uyuni.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are supporting the families of three British nationals who were involved in a car accident in Bolivia and are in close contact with the Bolivian authorities.’
The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world, measuring more than 4,000 square miles, and is one of the flattest places on earth.
The flat was part of the Dakar Rally in recent years, with drivers racing across the stretch of land.