Tributes to paid to Essex ballet dancer Ruan Crighton killed in Nepal plane crash

Credit: UK Foreign Office
Ruan Crighton began ballet dancing at Central Dance School in Brentwood. Credit: Family photo/UK Foreign Office

Tributes have been paid to a British ballet dancer who was killed in a plane crash in Nepal on Sunday.

Ruan Crighton, 34, from Brentwood in Essex, was one of 72 people onboard the Yeti Airlines plane that crashed near the newly opened Pokhara airport.

His family said he had been completing a training course in Kathmandu and had been due to fly home this weekend.

Mr Crighton enrolled at the Central School of Dance in Brentwood at just 10 years old and went on to tour Europe as a professional ballet dancer.

After retiring from ballet, he decided to train to become a physiotherapist.

Ruan Crighton from Brentwood in Essex Credit: Family photo/UK Foreign Office

A statement from his family said: "He had planned to take a well-deserved trip to the mountains after completing a 10-week placement at the spinal rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu as part of his physiotherapy studies and was due to fly home this weekend.

"We are all beyond heartbroken by this terrible tragedy.

"Ruan lived such a colourful, beautiful life. We are so proud of everything he has achieved and we were so excited for his future.

"Ruan, your wit, charm, and how you approached life was extraordinary.

"You were a devoted, loyal friend and were so loved and adored by everyone who met you.

"You will be missed by all whose lives you touched and have left a huge hole in ours.

"Ruan was an incredibly talented ballet dancer who brought joy to everyone who saw him perform and his gift had seen him travel all over the world.

Ruan Crighton performed all over Europe Credit: Family photo/UK Foreign Office

"We have been overwhelmed by all the kind messages we have received over the last few days, remembering Ru as someone who brought beauty, passion and grace to everything he did.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of all who have lost their lives.

"Thank you for the support of the brave rescue team who are working so hard to bring him home to us.

"The family and Ruan’s girlfriend respectfully request your privacy at this difficult time."

The Central School of Dance in Brentwood also paid tribute in a statement.

The school said: "We are devastated and shattered to hear Ruan was on the Yeti Flight that tragically crashed on Sunday in Nepal, where he was working during his physiotherapy studies."Ruan studied ballet at Central School of Dance, Brentwood from the age of 10, initially to enhance his gymnastic training.

"However, his love of ballet grew and he dedicated himself to his dance training adding Modern Theatre Dance to his schedule and achieving outstanding examination results."

Ruan Crighton as a child Credit: Family photo/UK Foreign Office

"He successfully auditioned for Central School of Ballet at 16 where he continued his vocational training.

"Ruan remained in contact, supporting Central, often giving his time to attend and perform at our annual prize giving.

"We have wonderful fond memories of Ruan in class, assisting and inspiring younger pupils, performing and working backstage in our school productions.

"We followed Ruan’s career which grew from strength to strength and we are so totally proud and feel privileged to have known Ruan, to watch him grow into the most wonderful, caring young man.

Ruan Crighton Credit: Family photo/UK Foreign Office

"Everyone at Central School of Dance sends their love and sincere condolences to Ruan’s family at this most difficult time.

"Thank you Ruan for the catchups and laughter over tea they will always be remembered."

It was not clear what caused the crash, which has been called Nepal’s worst air accident in three decades.

The flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder have been retrieved from the site.

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