A British man and his son died yesterday morning when the light aircraft in which they were travelling crashed shortly after take-off at Mahon's Air Club on Minorca, just 100 metres away from the runway.

Air Club sources said that the tragedy happened about 12.45pm when the father, an experienced pilot, who was at the controls of the “Beech Baron twin engine” plane tried to execute a turn at too steep an angle. Paramedics and fire officers attended the scene immediately but the two occupants had died instantly when the plane exploded as it hit the ground.

Teo Hidalgo, press spokesman for Spain's Royal Aeroclub said yesterday that the two men had apparently set out on a test flight and had only just taken off when the accident happened. As soon as news of the tragedy had been released, civil aviation experts set off for Minorca from the mainland with the mission of establishing just what had gone wrong. Hidalgo said that it may be several months before the report is released.

Many onlookers had witnessed the accident as they had gathered to watch a competition organised by the English Royal Aeroclub and its Spanish counterpart.