The tourists were enjoying a sunrise flight over ancient sights near the city of Luxor when it is understood a gas tank exploded, sending the craft soaring 1,300ft (396 metres) before it caught fire and plummeted to the ground, killing all but two of those on board in what is thought to be the worst accident of its kind in history.
The passengers on holiday from Britain were reported to have been two couples, Michael and Yvonne Rennie, from Perth, and Joe Bampton and his Hungarian partner Zsi Gyetuai, who were living in London. The Foreign Office confirmed two British nationals and a British resident had died. Their next of kin had been informed, but the victims had yet to be officially named last night.
Mr Rennie survived and was stable in hospital last night. The only other survivor was the Egyptian pilot.
A foreign Office spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with them and their families at this difficult time.”
The other victims are understood to be from France, China and Japan.
The British passengers were on holiday with tour operator Thomas Cook, whose chief executive Peter Fankhauser described the incident as a “terrible tragedy”.
“The thoughts of everyone in Thomas Cook are with our guests, their family and friends,” he said.
Neighbours of the couples last night spoke of their shock at hearing they had been caught up in the tragedy.
Mr and Mrs Rennie’s next-door neighbour Linda Kettles said they were “very, very nice people”.
“I’m totally devastated by the news. I really feel for their families,” she said.