SEVEN British tourists among 19 people who died in a plane crash in Nepal were travelling with a Hampshire-based firm, it has been revealed.

The British victims were identified by local travel company Sherpa Adventures as Raymond Eagle, 58, Christopher Davey, 51, Vincent Kelly, 50, Darren Kelly, 45, Timothy Oakes, 57, Stephen Holding, 60, and Benjamin Ogden, 27.

The group, who arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and were due to begin trekking today, were travelling with Farnborough-based travel company Explore Worldwide.

Managing director Ashley Toft said: ''We are devastated by this news. Our thoughts are very much with the families of those affected, both in the UK and in Nepal.''

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the families of the victims have all been informed.

The twin-engine propeller plane crashed shortly after take-off near Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

The plane, belonging to Nepal's domestic airline Sita Air, was heading east towards Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest and a popular destination for trekkers.

It crashed near the Manohara River to the south west of the city.

Witnesses say it burst into flames and came down in a field.

Weather in Kathmandu was clear at the time of the crash.

The pilot reported trouble two minutes after take-off, and Kathmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman said the plane appeared to have been trying to turn back to the airport.

Reports suggested the accident was caused by a bird strike.

The flight was one of the first to take off from Kathmandu's airport and departed at about 6.15am local time, with other flights reporting no problems.