A British airline pilot, his Spanish wife and two members of her family have died after their car left the road and fell into a 120 metre deep ravine on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.
Richard Addicott, a captain who flew for Norwegian Air, was killed alongside his wife, Rita Garcia Bolaños, her sister, Marta García Bolaños, and their father, Iván García Buelga, according to reports in the Spanish media.
The accident, which happened in foggy and rainy conditions near the town of Gáldar on the north-west of the island, took place on Tuesday night, but the car was not found until Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency services located the car at the bottom of the ravine, 75 metres from the road, and discovered the four occupants’ bodies inside. Efforts to retrieve them were hampered by the bad weather and the car’s unstable position.
“A helicopter crew had been trying to reach the place where the car was since Wednesday, but the weather made it impossible,” said Jesús Díaz, the mayor of Artenara, where the García Bolaños family is from.
“Specialist rescue teams managed to reach the area by foot on Thursday morning,” he told the online newspaper El Español.
The Canary Islands emergency services confirmed the deaths in a statement on Thursday afternoon, adding that all four bodies had been recovered.
“A lot of teams helped in the rescue, but the meteorological conditions and the instability of the vehicle made the task of recovering the bodies difficult, which is why they were not recovered until the following day,” it said.
Addicott’s colleagues and friends paid tribute to him and his family.
“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Relief Captain Richard Addicott during this sad time,” a spokesperson for Norwegian Air said.
Kye Lopez, who met Addicott while working at Norwegian Air in 2017, described him as a “true mentor” who had inspired him to learn how to fly.
“As a cabin crew interested in becoming a pilot, he took to me very well. He motivated me, and taught me more and more every time we flew together,” Lopez, 26, told the PA Media news agency.
“Honestly, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in aviation school right now. He was, for sure, the most laid back and funny captain I have had the pleasure of flying with. Most captains give off an over-authoritative vibe, but not him, he just felt like a big brother to me and was always watching out for my best interest, even up to now.”
Lopez said Addicott had once paid for all his drinks one night – “if I promised I’d apply to aviation college”.
The trainee pilot said Addicott’s death was “truly a massive loss”, adding that he was praying for his friend and sending the family his condolences.
The Foreign Office said it was supporting the family of a British man who had died on Gran Canaria and was in touch with the Spanish authorities.