British teenagers killed in Bolivia car crash named

Two 19-year-old British men killed in a car accident while travelling in Bolivia have been named as Freddie McLennan and Joe Atkins.

The 22-year-old Bolivian driver – named locally as Alberto Barco – also died in the crash, while a third British man was taken to hospital.

Mr McLennan and Mr Atkins were both former students of the 500-year-old Cranbrook School in Kent and had been travelling after finishing their A-levels.

The car is understood to have flipped over while being driven on Bolivia’s famous Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flat.

Bolivian authorities said a further three people were involved in the accident on Sunday.

Mr McLennan’s family paid tribute to him as an exceptional young man who was “as caring as he was fun to be with”.

“He excelled at school and his exam results were a source of great pride,” they said.

“He was thoroughly enjoying his opportunity to travel and experience new parts of the world, before preparing for the next stage in his life at Leeds University.”

Mr McLennan’s family added: “We are eternally grateful that Freddie came into our lives. We are struggling to come to terms with his passing.

“He brought a joy and love to us, which we will always remember, but miss greatly.”

Tributes have been paid to Freddie McLennan, 19 (Family/PA)
Tributes have been paid to Freddie McLennan, 19 (Family/PA)

Mr Atkins’ family said: “Joe had a character brimming with kindness and humility, and anyone that knew him was struck by his understated yet self-assured nature.

“Quietly intuitive, he always knew the right thing to say, and the role that he decided to play as the calming presence and fiercely loyal friend, will be forever appreciated by those that knew him.

“Always seeking the fun side of life as a little boy, he grew up to be a young man that loved family dog walks as much as nights out with friends, and he remained quietly ambitious and determined in his pursuit of a career in engineering, for which he achieved such fantastic A-level results.”

The Atkins family added: “In a recent call to his family, he was clearly so elated with the adventure he’d been sharing with his best friends. He said just how much he was looking forward to being back to enjoy home comforts, and to move on to the next stage at the University of Bristol.

“Joey was the son that gave us endless pride, the brother that brought laughter to our home and the friend that you’d always want by your side.”

In a statement published on its website, the Cranbrook School said: “We share the grief of the families at their tragic loss and offer them our sincerest condolences.”

The experience of driving on the salt flats has been compared to driving through clouds by travellers.

But travel publisher Lonely Planet warns: “Travellers should take great care in choosing which tour operator to go with when visiting the salt flats.

“Fatal accidents due to unsafe vehicles and drivers are not unheard of.”

The Foreign Office said:  “We are supporting the families of three British people who were involved in a car accident in Bolivia and are in close contact with the Bolivian authorities.”

- Press Association

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