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British Student and Pilot Die After Plane Crashes Into Nature Park in Spain

A British student pilot has died after a light aircraft crashed in Spain.

The 26-year-old lost his life along with a Spanish pilot after the plane went down in a natural park in the Andalucian province of Almeria.

The pair had taken off from an aerodrome in Velez-Malaga east of Malaga and were heading to the east coast city of Valencia when the tragedy occurred just after midnight yesterday.

The pilot has been named as 24-year-old Rafael Ricote, who worked as an instructor at a Malaga-based aviation school. His student, a 26-year-old identified locally only by his first name Marcus, has been described as a Costa del Sol-based man from a “family of British origin.”

The crash happened around 12.30am yesterday in the area around Cerro del Fraile, a peak of volcanic origin in the stunning Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park where popular Western movies including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly were shot.

Its two occupants had just stopped to refuel at nearby Almeria Airport before continuing their journey. No Mayday calls were received before the plane went down.

Civil Guard mountain rescue experts recovered the men’s bodies from the wreckage of the plane. Police and civil aviation accident investigators have now launched separate investigations. Civil Guard officers in Almeria said they were not in a position to confirm the nationalities of the two men that died.

It is a national Bank Holiday in Spain and no-one could be reached at One Air Diamond Flight Centre, the flight training school Rafael Ricote is said to have worked for and the plane’s owner.

A spokesman for a regional government-run emergency response coordination centre confirmed: “Two people died in an air accident in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the municipality of Nijar. An emergency call was received around 12.30am from Valencia Airport indicating contact had been lost with a light aircraft in the area around Cerro del Fraile.

“The caller indicated 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 well as police forces including the Civil Guard and National Police, coastguards, civil protection workers and other responders. Fire crews subsequently confirmed they had found the bodies of two people in a difficult-to-access area around Cerro del Fraile.”

Tributes have been paid on social media to lawyer’s son Mr Ricote, who came from the southern Spanish city of Cordoba. One friend said: “He’d dreamed of being a pilot since he was a little boy. He was a wonderful person.”

Source: Mirror