British pilot and passenger killed ‘after plane’s altitude equipment fails’ and it crashes in Spain

A British pilot and passenger have been killed after their small aircraft crashed on a Spanish mountain in misty conditions.

The Piper plane took off from Cascais, southern Portugal, and was heading towards Hondarribia airfield in northern Spain when it crashed on the 3,500ft Hernio mountain early on Wednesday afternoon

Rescuers recovered one body last night before calling off the search in failing light.

This morning a second body was found when the search resumed. Sources suggest the two people on board were British. 

Early indications suggest the aircraft might have had a fault in its altitude equipment meaning the pilot might not have realised how low the plane was. 

A British pilot and passenger have been killed after their small aircraft crashed on a Spanish mountain in misty conditions. Rescuers are pictured at the scene

A British pilot and passenger have been killed after their small aircraft crashed on a Spanish mountain in misty conditions. Rescuers are pictured at the scene

A British pilot and passenger have been killed after their small aircraft crashed on a Spanish mountain in misty conditions. Rescuers are pictured at the scene

Pictures from the scene show foggy skies and the charred remains of the British-registered aircraft on the ground, high up in the Basque Region mountain range

Pictures from the scene show foggy skies and the charred remains of the British-registered aircraft on the ground, high up in the Basque Region mountain range

Pictures from the scene show foggy skies and the charred remains of the British-registered aircraft on the ground, high up in the Basque Region mountain range

The Piper plane took off from the Portuguese town of Cascais and was heading towards Hondarribia airfield when it crashed on Mount Hernio at about 2pm on Wednesday. Pictured: Rescuers working at the scene

The Piper plane took off from the Portuguese town of Cascais and was heading towards Hondarribia airfield when it crashed on Mount Hernio at about 2pm on Wednesday. Pictured: Rescuers working at the scene

The Piper plane took off from the Portuguese town of Cascais and was heading towards Hondarribia airfield when it crashed on Mount Hernio at about 2pm on Wednesday. Pictured: Rescuers working at the scene

The alarm was raised when an explosion was heard in the area shortly before 2pm on Wednesday. The plane was flying from southern Portugal to northern Spain when it crashed

The alarm was raised when an explosion was heard in the area shortly before 2pm on Wednesday. The plane was flying from southern Portugal to northern Spain when it crashed

The alarm was raised when an explosion was heard in the area shortly before 2pm on Wednesday. The plane was flying from southern Portugal to northern Spain when it crashed

Pictures from the scene show foggy skies and the charred remains of the British-registered aircraft 160ft from the summit, high up in the Basque Region mountain range. 

Contact is said to have been lost with the plane shortly after 1pm when it was in transit between Bilbao and Hondarribia. A local then raised the alarm after hearing an explosion.

One witness told the Spanish press: ‘I heard the noise of the plane, followed by a crash and then everything was silent.’ 

Rescue teams, including firefighters, descended on the scene and a helicopter was called in – but the efforts of the air team were severely hampered by the foggy weather conditions.    

Ground teams eventually reached the wreckage at 3.45pm and found a body within the wreckage.

They were forced to abandon their search for the second person on board just after 6pm because of a lack of light. They resumed this morning and found a body at 10.22am.

Rescuers found the wreckage (pictured) on the mountainside amid misty conditions in Spain

Rescuers found the wreckage (pictured) on the mountainside amid misty conditions in Spain

Rescuers found the wreckage (pictured) on the mountainside amid misty conditions in Spain

Emergency crews were forced to abandon their search for the second person on board just after 6pm last night because of a lack of light. The second body was found today

Emergency crews were forced to abandon their search for the second person on board just after 6pm last night because of a lack of light. The second body was found today

Emergency crews were forced to abandon their search for the second person on board just after 6pm last night because of a lack of light. The second body was found today

Rescue teams, including firefighters, descended on the scene and a helicopter was called in - but the efforts of the air team were severely hampered by the foggy weather conditions

Rescue teams, including firefighters, descended on the scene and a helicopter was called in - but the efforts of the air team were severely hampered by the foggy weather conditions

Rescue teams, including firefighters, descended on the scene and a helicopter was called in – but the efforts of the air team were severely hampered by the foggy weather conditions

Hernio mountain is a well known summit in the heart of the province of Gipuzkoa and, at more than 3,500 ft, is the highest peak in the range

Hernio mountain is a well known summit in the heart of the province of Gipuzkoa and, at more than 3,500 ft, is the highest peak in the range

Hernio mountain is a well known summit in the heart of the province of Gipuzkoa and, at more than 3,500 ft, is the highest peak in the range

Hernio is a well known summit in the heart of the province of Gipuzkoa and, at more than 3,500 ft, is the highest peak in the range. 

The crash site has been cordoned off by investigators and rescue teams were due to continue their search this morning. 

Although the nationality of the two people on board remains unknown, sources have suggested the two on board the four-seater plane were ‘foreign nationals, possibly English’. 

A Foreign Office spokesman told MailOnline it was ‘seeking further information from the Spanish authorities’ following the plane crash. 

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