TWO men have been killed after their light aircraft crashed in a rural area of Co. Kildare.
The incident occurred in a field in the townland of Belan, Moone near Athy at around 7.30pm last night.
However, the privately-owned plane involved was not located until shortly after 4.30am this morning when it was spotted by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.
Two men were pronounced dead at the scene and their bodies were removed to Naas General Hospital.
The pair, one aged 70 and the other in his late 50s, were from Kildare and Dundrum, Co. Dublin respectively.
They reportedly took off from a small airstrip outside Athy for a leisure flight at around 7.20pm yesterday before almost immediately encountering difficulties.
Minutes later their light aircraft disappeared and a search operation was immediately launched before the discovery of the plane with their bodies inside this morning.
The two men have been identified but their names are yet to be released as they have relatives living overseas.
The Air Accident Investigation unit remain at the scene and the Irish Aviation Authority has been notified.