Tatiana Brandão, 30, and Raquel Moreira, 28, were said to have been killed instantly during their holiday of a lifetime when their vehicle smashed into a bus.
They had spent years planning their ill-fated road trip across the United States and posted pictures of their travels in the days before the collision.
The ‘kind and talented’ nurses worked together at Southampton General Hospital, having emigrated to the UK from their home country Portugal.
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Reports online state a Jeep crashed into a commercial bus on a state road in Arizona which serves as the entrance road to the Grand Canyon.
Ms Brandão and Ms Moreira were declared dead at the scene, while Ms Brandão’s mother-in-law and partner were rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
A video montage posted on social media by Ms Moreira just two days before the crash shows the pair smiling and laughing as they travelled across California, visiting Hollywood and Universal Studios.
Their NHS colleagues at Southampton General Hospital today paid tribute to them.
Gail Byrne, chief nursing officer, said: “The entire nursing family at University Hospital Southampton [NHS Trust] has been left shocked and saddened by the tragic deaths of two much-loved colleagues as they enjoyed a holiday together in America.
“Tatiana, 30, joined the Trust seven years ago and was a highly respected member of the neurology department.
“Raquel, 28, had worked at UHS for the past five years and was a very valued part of the stroke ACP team.
“Both had chosen to move from Portugal to join UHS and had bright careers ahead of them.
“The friends were well-known for their kindness, empathy and enthusiasm.
“Both were passionate about nursing and providing the very best care for our patients.
“Outside of work they shared a love for new experiences, adventure and living life to the fullest.
“I know I speak on behalf of the entire UHS workforce in saying they will be sorely missed. We send our love and condolences to their families at this very sad time.”
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