A four-year-old boy killed in a crash in Moray which claimed the lives of four others “filled our lives with joy”, his family has said.

Lorenzo Ciociola was travelling in a minibus with his parents, three-year-old brother and two other Italians when it crashed with a car on the A96 just before midnight on Thursday.

His mother, 33, is in a critical condition in hospital while his father, 45, remains in hospital with serious injuries. His brother was treated for minor injuries.

In a statement, his family said: “The Ciociola and Passanisi families have been devastated by the tragic and untimely death of little Lorenzo.

Frances Saliba PataneFrances Saliba Patane died in the crash on her 63rd birthday (Police Scotland/PA)

“Although your life has been cut short you have filled our own lives with joy – now you are our little angel in heaven.

“You will be forever close to our hearts and will continue to live on in the fond memory of your mum, dad and little brother Federico.”

Tributes were also paid to other victims of the crash, including Frances Saliba Patane, who was visiting Scotland to celebrate her 63rd birthday when she died.

Her family said the English teacher, who moved from Malta to Sicily after marrying an Italian, was a “loving wife and a caring mother and grandmother”.

Ted ReidEdward Reid, known as Ted, was killed in the crash on the A96 (Police Scotland/PA)

Both families thanked the emergency services and staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

The family of Ted Reid, 63, from Macduff, Aberdeenshire, who was killed in the Nissan X-Trail along with Evalyn Collie, 69, from Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire, and Audrey Appleby, 70, said they are “heartbroken”.

They said: “Ted was a devoted husband, dad, granda, brother and friend. He will be remembered for his selfless loving nature and will be sorely missed by all.”

Ms Collie’s family said they have “lost a beautiful lady” and thanked those who helped.

They added: “We wish to pass on our condolences and deepest sympathy to all the families who lost family members in this horrific and tragic incident, and hope those injured make a speedy and full recovery.”

Evalyn CollieEvalyn Collie was heading home from a music night with friends when she died (Police Scotland/PA)

The driver of the Nissan, named locally as Morag Smith, 39, from Aberchirder, is receiving treatment for serious injuries.

She was driving back from a country music night in Elgin at the time of the crash and the club president has paid tribute to the members killed, saying they were “just very nice people”.

A 70-year-old male passenger from the Fiat minibus also remains in hospital.

Deputy head of road policing Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: “This has been a difficult and distressing time for everyone affected by this tragedy and the sympathy expressed by communities over the past few days has been overwhelming.

“We have learned of countless individuals going above and beyond to provide assistance and comfort to those in need – from acts of bravery and compassion at the scene of the collision to invaluable support in the aftermath. On behalf of Police Scotland and our partners, a sincere thank you.”

Bruno Mancuso, an Italian senator from Sicily, said Lorenzo’s father Alfredo was a coastguard officer and that their local community was in “deep grief”.

Audrey ApplebyAudrey Appleby also died in the collision (Police Scotland/PA)

He wrote on Facebook: “I am deeply saddened and dismayed by the tragedy that has struck lieutenant Alfredo Ciociola, commander of the maritime district office of Sant’Agata Militello, who in a tragic road accident in Scotland last Thursday, lost his four-year-old son.

“His wife is in a coma. The whole of the community tightens up to him and his family and expresses pain and deep grief.”

The Italian Honorary Consulate in Aberdeen is supporting the families of the Italian citizens caught up in the tragedy.

Officers investigating the crash have appealed for any witnesses and for dashcam footage.