Two people who died when a small aircraft they were flying in crashed into a mountain ridge in northern Spain were thought to be from the United Kingdom, although those investigating the deadly accident were yet to confirm this, authorities said Thursday.
The emergency technician for the Basque regional government, Iñaki López Etxezarreta — responsible for coordinating the recovery of both bodies — said there was reason to believe the two were UK citizens and that the accident had taken place at around 13.10 pm Wednesday when the Piper plane crashed into a slope just short of the summit of Mount Hernio, which stands 1,075 meters (3,526) tall.
The technician explained the remains had been found — one on Thursday morning and the other the previous afternoon — where the collision took place, on a stoney surface with a 50-degree slope.
"It is a very complex area, on the first slopes of the mountain range, which is very complicated," López Etxezarreta explained.
"Its orographic difficulties have hampered many technicians from accessing the site of the accident," he continued.
The plane departed yesterday morning from Cascais airport in Portugal — 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) west of Lisbon — heading for Hondarribia in the Basque region when the crash occurred in the small locality of Errezil, some 40 kilometers from the northern seaside resort of San Sebastián.
As soon as authorities were alerted of the accident, firefighters, Ertzaintza forces — the Basque police force — and medics from the Basque Institute of Legal Medicine landed on the scene and managed to recover one body, but lack of light and poor visibility due to dense fog hampered the operation.
The second body was recovered Thursday morning following similar conditions with heavy fog.
López Etxezarreta said the reason for the accident was still unidentified and that when found it would be revealed by the Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission run by the national Ministry of Development.
Meanwhile, the bodies will remain in situ until the Basque Institute of Legal Medicine and forensic police, who continue investigations at the site of the accident, submit a report.