British couple killed in flood

An elderly British couple were swept to their deaths in a flash flood while holidaying in Spain.

The pair, understood to be in their 70s, were hit by a wall of water as they sat outside a market-place cafe in the sleepy town of Finestrat on the Costa Blanca.

They were killed after torrential rain led a river to burst its banks at around midday yesterday, just a few miles along the coast from the popular resort of Benidorm.

It sent water gushing through a dried-up ravine and deluged traders who set up their market stands in the area each week.

It has now emerged the town's council was fined 83,000 euros for paving the ravine bed without permission last July. According to local reports, the authority was also discouraged from authorising vendors to sell their wares on the promenade.

The British couple - who have not been named - are understood to have been dragged away in the current as water flowed through the market place, wrecking cars and stalls.

Their bodies were reportedly found trapped under a trailer after the flood.

Another two people were taken to hospital, Spanish media reported, while a 90-year-old was missing but was later found unharmed in a nearby street.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of two British nationals in Finestrat, Spain, on October 21.

"We are providing consular assistance to the family."