A family of four from England have been killed in a collision with a pick-up truck in the sunshine state of Florida.

The Stephenson family, from Tower Road, Bristol, were returning from a trip to the Kennedy Space Center when their rented white Mitsubishi fatally collided with a Ford F-250 pick-up, with the passenger side of the rental car taking the brunt of the collision.

Violent collision

The driver, Adam Stephenson, 30, along with his 29-year-old wife, Maryanne Stephenson, 66-year-old Brian Stephenson, and 56-year-old Sheralyn Stephenson died at the scene according to Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson of the Titusville police, who also said that close family members had been informed.

He described the loss as "tragic."

Brother informed

Deputy Chief Hutchinson also said that one family member, Adam Stephenson's brother, decided to skip the trip to the Space Center to see the launch of Elon Musk's Space X rocket, the Falcon 9 embarking on a second mission to the International Space Station and was staying at their rented house in the town of Davenport, roughly 70 miles from Orlando.

The launch, at 4.30 pm local time, was the first of three planned for this month by Musk's company.

Eyewitnesses said that the car carrying the family turned left into the path of the pick-up truck. Local man, James Walsh, 28 from Port St. John said: "there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash." He is being treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, police sources said.

Unfamiliar with area

Police also said that one of the controlling factors was the unfamiliarity that the Stephenson's had with the area. At the point of the impact, the police said the GPS showed that the family was re-routed to avoid heavy traffic as a result of another accident on the SR 407. "It instructed them to do a U-turn at that location, which was an intersection," said Hutchinson.

"They were in the process of making that U-turn at the time of the collision." He also said: "Our emergency service personnel were on the scene within a few minutes."

A preliminary investigation showed that the rented vehicle drove into the path of the oncoming pick-up truck at the junction of Sisson Road, on the SR 405.

Emergency services

The car was so badly crushed, emergency services used a hydraulic tool to remove the victim's bodies from the wreckage.

In a statement, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: "We are supporting the family of four British people who have died in Florida. Our thoughts are with them at this deeply difficult time."