Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic craft crashes in California desert

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo space tourism craft has crashed, leaving at least one person dead.

Richard Branson: flying out to California following crash
Richard Branson: flying out to California following crash

The craft was flying a manned test over a California desert when the tragedy occured.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson tweeted: "Thoughts with all @virgingalactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support." He added that he was flying out to "be with the team".

The news represents a major setback to Branson’s long-held hopes of pioneering a new industry of space tourism. Speaking in October, Branson had said he intended the craft to make it to sub-orbital space within a matter of months.

In a statement today, Virgin Galactic said the craft had been flying a manned test when the "vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo".

SpaceShipTwo is designed to be carried by a jet, before being launched into sub-orbit. The company said the aircraft which held the spaceship had landed safely.