‘British’ student dies with his flight instructor when their plane crashes in a natural park in Spain
- No calls for help were made before the plane crashed, minutes after refueling
A British man and his Spanish flight instructor died when their small plane crashed in a natural park in Spain.
The couple took off from an airfield in Vélez-Málaga, east of Málaga, and were flying to Valencia when the tragedy occurred.
No calls for help were made before the plane crashed, just minutes after it stopped to refuel at nearby Almeria airport before continuing its journey.
The plane crashed shortly after midnight yesterday in the vicinity of Cerro del Fraile, a peak of volcanic origin in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park.
The pilot has been identified as Rafael Ricote, 24, who worked as an instructor at the nearby One Air Diamond Flight Center. His friends paid tribute to him and said that his childhood dream was to be a pilot.
His student, 26, has been identified locally only by his name Marcus, and is described as a Sunshine Coast man from a “family of British origin”.
The small plane crashed around midnight Wednesday east of Malaga, Spain.
No calls for help were made before the plane crashed, which occurred just minutes after the couple stopped to refuel at nearby Almeria airport.
The plane crashed near Cerro del Fraile (in the photo)
Mountain rescue experts from the Civil Guard recovered the bodies of the men from the wreckage of the plane, which was captured by local media.
The plane’s mangled body was searched by local police and civil aviation accident investigators, who have since launched separate investigations.
Almeria Civil Guard officers said they were not in a position to confirm the nationalities of the two men who died.
A spokesperson for the regional government-run emergency response coordination center confirmed: ‘Two people died in a plane crash in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the municipality of Níjar.
‘At around 00:30 an emergency call was received from the Valencia airport indicating that contact had been lost with a small plane in the Cerro del Fraile area.
‘The caller indicated that the plane belonged to a flight training school in Malaga and was heading to Valencia with two people on board.
“Firefighters were immediately alerted, as were police forces, including the Civil Guard and National Police, the coast guard, civil protection workers and other first responders.
“Firefighters later confirmed that they had found the bodies of two people in a difficult-to-access area around Cerro del Fraile.”
Tributes have been paid on social networks to Rafael Ricote, originally from the city of Córdoba, in the south of Spain.
A friend said: ‘I had dreamed of being a pilot since I was a little boy. He was a wonderful person.’
The natural park where the couple crashed and which has been the backdrop for several Hollywood films, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
MailOnline has contacted One Air Diamond Flight Center for comment.