TWO young pilots died in an aviation disaster when their light aircraft crashed into an Almerian mountain range just after midnight.
The victims, an instructor and student, both 25, were on a night training flight to Valencia which had departed from El Trapiche airfield in Vélez-Malaga at around 11:00pm.
After making a stopover at Almería’s airport for refuelling, the aircraft suddenly crashed in the Cerro del Fraile area, located in the Cabo de Gata natural park in Almería around 12.30am.
Initial investigations indicate the tragedy might be due to human error, as the flight had made no distress call prior to the disaster and the plane displayed no signs of mechanical failure.
Authorities only became aware that something was wrong when Valencia air traffic controllers reported a missing aircraft to their Almerían counterparts.
They identified the aircraft as belonging to Malaga’s One Air flight school and noted that it had not arrived at its destination in Valencia.
The flight school director then raised the alarm, alerting emergency services that the aircraft was missing.
A search and rescue operation to locate the aircraft was hindered by the rugged terrain where it had last been located.
Almería’s firefighting teams and the mountain group of the Guardia Civil from Granada worked to find and retrieve the victims from the remote Cerro del Fraile location.
Almería’s airport remained open throughout the night to enable the aircraft involved in the search and rescue efforts to refuel.