Newlywed Britons killed as helicopter crashes in Spain

A bride and groom were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Spain as they travelled to their wedding reception. Jeanette Hodgson, 40, and Michael Gregory, 37, died when the aircraft came down in the mountainous area of Istan, near Malaga.

The couple, who had two children, a girl aged two and a five-year-old boy, had booked the flight over the picturesque coastline of the Costa del Sol as the highlight of the ceremony. They hired the private helicopter to go sightseeing after marrying in the village of Nerja on Monday morning and were due to arrive at the El Oceano hotel a few hours later - where about 20 close friends and family were waiting.

But the couple, who had a home in Marbella, never arrived. The guests dispersed in tears and, instead of celebrating the wedding, were yesterday preparing for funerals.

Visibility was fine but strong winds put the small Robinson R44 helicopter into difficulties.

A search discovered it on a mountainside about 30 miles from their destination.

Mr Gregory, from Leicester, who ran his own business, Dura-Sport, and the pilot, are believed to have died instantly. The bride, a company secretary originally from Essex, who had three children from a previous relationship, and the co-pilot, were found alive.

Emergency services took hours to reach the scene, three miles from the nearest road, and Ms Hodgson died as she was being taken off the mountain.

The pilot, Salvador Alarcon, 65, is believed to have sent out a mayday shortly before the crash. Hermann Rich, the co-pilot and only survivor, was taken by air to the Clinic of Malaga hospital where he was recovering yesterday.

Jose Carmona, the reception manager, said police arrived and told them what had happened. He said: "It's incredible - a day that should be a day of joy and happiness for everybody has turned into a tragedy.

"All the guests were here by 3pm waiting for the couple to come. They got more and more nervous, looking around at one another and somehow they had a very bad feeling, which was confirmed."

The Foreign Office confirmed the names of the couple and said the British Consulate was providing appropriate assistance to the families of the victims. The mayor of Istan, Salvador Osorio, told a local newspaper the helicopter crashed after apparently going out of control while trying to land.

Rescue teams decided it was too dangerous to remove the bodies in the dusk so police stood by them overnight before removing them yesterday.

At the Oceano Beach Hotel the guests dressed in morning suits had been becoming increasingly concerned.

The couple had arrived in Gibraltar on Sunday night and booked into the Elliott Hotel just off Main Street in the urban centre of Gibraltar before embarking on their fatal trip.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'