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Police investigate whether tour driver in Bolivia crash which killed former Cranbrook School pupils Joe Atkins and Freddie McLennan, 19, had passed his test

Officials are probing whether a driver who killed two former Cranbrook School students in a crash in Bolivia had passed his test, according to reports.

Joe Atkins and Freddie McLennan, both 19, died when their 4x4 was involved in the accident on the Salar de Uyuni saltflat, alongside the driver, named as Luis Alberto Barco.

A third teenager remains in hospital.

Freddie McLennan died in the crash
Freddie McLennan died in the crash

It emerged in reports from the local police force that a key task for the investigation is to find out whether Mr Barco held a valid licence and whether he had even passed his test.

Marco Rojas Hurtado, the local police commander, told the Daily Mail Mr Barco was believed to have been an inexperienced driver.

He said a driving licence was not at the scene and officers had not yet found any record of him passing his test.

He added: "Possibly, he may not have passed his test, we are still confirming that."

The force is also continuing to ask questions of the tour company who ran the trips, with Mr Rojas Hurtado adding: "They are responsible for the driver and all of his actions."

Joe Atkins died in Bolivia last Sunday
Joe Atkins died in Bolivia last Sunday

The Foreign Office is supporting the victims’ families as well as the family of the injured teen.

Tributes were released by Freddie and Joe's families. Both were due to have returned from their gap year travels at the end of this week.

Joe's family said: "He had a character brimming with kindness and humility, and anyone who 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."

Relatives have set up a JustGiving page in his memory raising money for the Sam West Foundation, which helps young people with mental health difficulties.

Freddie McLennan's family said friends had lost a "special individual".

They added: “Freddie was an exceptional young man. As a son, brother, grandson, cousin and friend to all those who knew him, he was as caring as he was fun to be with.

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

Cranbrook School headmaster Dr John Weeds issued tributes to the former pupils
Cranbrook School headmaster Dr John Weeds issued tributes to the former pupils

Joe was due to take up a place at the University of Bristol, while Freddie was set to study at Leeds University.

The school's headmaster, Dr John Weeds, led tributes to Freddie and Joe.

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