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Victims of Iceland bridge crash named as two families from Poplar

PUBLISHED: 16:21 31 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:21 31 December 2018

Stock image of a  police vehicle at a roadblock in Iceland. Pic: PA/Owen Humphreys

Stock image of a police vehicle at a roadblock in Iceland. Pic: PA/Owen Humphreys

PA Wire/PA Images

A family have spoken of their “horrifying shock” at the deaths of relatives who were killed when the 4x4 they were travelling in crashed off a bridge in Iceland.

Two British women and a baby girl were killed in the crash near Skaftafell on the morning of December 27.

A family statement, who described those involved as an Indian origin British family, said: “The fatal car crash near Skaftafell in Iceland on the morning of 27th December, 2018 has come as a horrifying shock for the entire family and friends.

“The Indian, British and Icelandic authorities have been extremely co-operative and extended appropriate support. Our family is deeply saddened so we request you to kindly respect our privacy and give us the space to grieve in peace at this difficult time.

“Special thanks to the local authorities for airlifting and ensuring timely medical facilities were provided. Thank you for your prayers and understanding on this matter.”

The vehicle was carrying two brothers who were touring the country with their families, including two children aged seven and nine. All four were seriously injured.

Icelandic police said the women were born in 1982 and 1985 and the child this year.

The two couples involved in the crash have been named by friends in Poplar, east London, as Shreeraj Laturia and his wife Rajshree and Supreme Laturia and his wife Khushboo.

The cause of Thursday’s accident is not yet known, but in a statement on Friday police said the Toyota Land Cruiser “seems to have turned on the bridge with the result that it went on top of the railing of the bridge, to the right, following it for a short distance and then turned over off the rail and the bridge.

“There, the car fell down on the ground beneath the bridge.”

The crash happened on the 200m-300m (656ft-984ft) bridge on the national Route 1 road near Skeidararsandur, a vast sand plain in southern Iceland.

Police previously said the road was not thought to be icy but humidity could have made the surface slippery for the SUV, which was driving eastbound over the bridge in Nupsvotn, just south of the Vatnajokull glacier.

Those involved in the crash are from two British families, and of Indian heritage.

Neighbours in the street where the two Laturia families lived in Poplar, east London, said they were shocked by the news and described them as “lovely people”.

One family friend, who said her daughter went to school with one of the Laturia children, said: “They were a very lovely family.”

A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They were lovely people, absolutely peerless people. It’s absolutely terrible.”

The Indian ambassador to Iceland, T Armstrong Changsan, is believed to have visited the survivors in hospital.

Another brother, Sarvesh Laturia, who is in India, told the Times of India: “It was my two brothers and their wives - they are British people.

“They were on vacation in Iceland and their car met with an accident in which my two sister-in-laws passed away and my niece passed away. My two brothers are in a critical condition in hospital.”

The crash happened just south of Skaftafell National Park, part of the Vatnajokull National Park, which was nominated for inclusion in Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2018.

The Vatnajokull glacier is the largest in Europe, covering 8% of Iceland’s landmass including the island’s tallest peak Hvannadalshnjukur at 2,200 metres tall (7,218ft).

Tourists flock to the area to enjoy hiking, camping and sightseeing flights.

South of the national park is the Skeidararsandur, a vast sand plain formed from alluvial deposits, with little vegetation, with the Nupsvotn glacial lakes on its western boundary.

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