British men die as Morpeth planes crash in French Alps

Scene of Alps plane crash Image copyright Sapeurs-pompiers des Alpes de Haute-Provence
Image caption The plane was one of five aircraft that left Northumberland at the weekend

Two British men were killed when two planes crashed in the French Alps.

The planes were among five aircraft that left Eshott Airfield near Morpeth, Northumberland, on Sunday bound for Malta.

French authorities confirmed those who died were aged 18 and 37 and on board the same plane.

The aircraft were owned by Eshot-based Purple Aviation, who said the occupants of the second plane that came down had not been seriously injured.

A UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said staff were offering assistance to the families of the dead men, who are both thought to be from the North East of England.

The crash happened over the Maddalena Pass, on France’s border with Italy, as the group were travelling in stages to Malta.

‘Two brilliant friends’

Richard Pike, a director of Purple Aviation and who was part of the organised trip, said everyone involved was “devastated”.

“This was a group of experienced pilots and close friends embarking on the trip of a lifetime, which has been planned over the last year,” he said.

“Everyone involved has been devastated by this tragic accident.

“We’d like to pass on our sincere condolences to the families of those who died. We have lost two brilliant friends.”

The company dismissed initial reports the planes involved had collided with one another.

“We can confirm that there was no mid-air collision and that the pilot of the first aircraft to crash walked away from the wreckage unharmed after a well executed forced landing,” it said in a statement.

“An investigation is now ongoing by French aviation authorities, and they have been provided with the expedition’s film footage of the incident to see how events unfolded.”



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