US & Canada

Quebec plane crash: Four Britons killed - UK Foreign Office

The wreckage of a de Havilland Beaver seaplane which crashed in Quebec Image copyright Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Four Britons were among six people killed when a seaplane crashed during a sightseeing trip in Canada, the Foreign Office has said.

Five passengers and a pilot died when the Beaver aircraft they were in came down in woodland in the Les Bergeronnes area, Quebec province, on Sunday.

The identities of the British victims have not been released.

The FCO described the crash as a "tragic incident" and said it was in contact with the Canadian authorities.

'Remote' area

Reports quoted police as saying that all six who had been aboard the Air Saguenay plane had been found. Their bodies are said to have been handed over to the coroner's office.

The seaplane had taken off from Tadoussac, on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, located about 270km (167 miles) north east of Quebec City, on Sunday evening (local time).

An Air Saguenay official said the flight was supposed to last 20 minutes and flying conditions at the time were "excellent".

Image caption The plane came down in woodland in the Les Bergeronnes area

Investigators have been hindered by bad weather and the inaccessible terrain.

Ryan Hicks, a reporter with CBC, said the area where the plane went down was "very remote". Authorities had to parachute into the site, he added.

Jean-Marc Ledoux, from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said it would be some time before the cause of the crash was known.

He told the BBC that two investigators were still working at the scene and the remoteness made it a "difficult" process.

"There's no access by road," he said. "Everything is being done by helicopter."

'Tragic incident'

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Sadly, four British nationals were on board the plane that crashed in Les Bergeronnes, Canada.

"Our deepest sympathies are with their friends and family at this difficult time. Our consular officers are ready to provide assistance and we will remain in contact with Canadian authorities regarding this tragic incident."

Le Journal de Quebec named the pilot as Romain Desrosiers and one of the victims as Emilie Delaitre, a French woman visiting the country from the Cote d'Azur.

It reported that the plane crashed into a mountainside 20km (12 miles) from Tadoussac, where the tourists were staying.

The newspaper also reported the Britons may have rented a car with an Ontario number plate to drive to the region.

CBC News reported that the aircraft - a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver - was built in 1956, but that Air Saguenay said it had a "brand new" engine.

According to reports, Air Saguenay upgraded its security system after the same type of plane crashed into a mountain in Quebec in 2010, killing four of the six people on board.

An investigation into the earlier tragedy by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found poor weather conditions had hampered visibility and was responsible for the crash.

Its report found that it took the company's main operating base three hours and 40 minutes to alert the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre to the fact the plane had been delayed, whereas they should have been notified after just an hour.