Three British tourists, including two young children, were among 50 people injured in a fatal tour bus crash in Malta during an Easter holiday.

The two boys, aged six and eight, are understood to be in a critical condition.

Two passengers, one Spanish and one Belgian, were killed when the 'hop on, hop off' open top bus crashed into a low-hanging branch in the popular town of Zurrieq, just south of the capital Valletta, an area famed for its ruins and the Blue Grotto cave.

Deputy prime minister and health secretary Chris Fearne said one Briton, aged 44, and the two British boys, were among six who were 'grievioulsy' injured. He said some required emergency surgery.

He said four people - two adults and two children - were in a critical condition.

A 72 year-old Italian woman and 31-year-old German woman were also badly hurt, he said, adding that most of the passengers had suffered injuries to the upper parts of their body, including their necks and heads. He said some required emergency surgery.

Other victims came from Italy, Germany and America, he said.

A total of 12 children were injured in the accident.

A magisterial inquiry, headed by duty magistrate Monica Vella, has already started.

A spokesman for City Sightseeing, operators of the service, said: "We are shocked and saddened to learn that a vehicle operated by our Maltese franchise holder has been involved in a serious accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this tragic event.

"We are communicating with our franchise operator with a view to establishing the full facts of the situation, and are not in a position to comment further at this time."

Courtesy of Travelmole