Two men died when a light aircraft attempted a crash landing in North Yorkshire – just yards from a main road. The aircraft was flying near the stately home Castle Howard in the Ryedale area and the A64 at around 10.40am today.

Police confirmed this afternoon that the two men –  the pilot and a passenger – died when the light aircraft, believed to be a Slingsby T67 Firefly, came down about 15 miles north of York.

North Yorkshire police tweeted: ‘We can now confirm that sadly, two men, the pilot and passenger in the aircraft that crashed near Castle Howard, died in the crash.’

Superintendent Mark Grange said the plane landed more than 200m away from the nearest houses and was still mostly intact.

‘It looks like it came straight down,’ he said. ‘It looks like an aircraft, with two wings and a tail fin where it should be. It’s in a bad way and it’s obviously come down heavily. It’s sat on its underside so it has not flipped.

‘Whether they tried to land like that I don’t know. I cannot say where they were going and what they were doing in the air.

‘The fire service attended the scene just to make sure the area is safe because of worries about the amount of fuel – they have declared it safe.’

He added that paramedics declared the two men dead at the scene and gave no more details about them or their identities.

‘We are still out trying to locate family to inform them of what’s happened,’ Mr Grange said.

It is believed the plane took off from Full Sutton Flying Centre, about 12 miles south from Whitwill-on-the Hill, where the aircraft crashed.

MailOnline contacted the centre, which offers flying lessons, but no one was prepared to comment.

Drivers on the A64 said they saw a large number of emergency service vehicles speeding past them on the road this morning.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘Police received a number of calls from members of the public at around 10.40am on the morning of Saturday 30 April 2016.’

‘Roads in the area have been closed to allow emergency services to deal with the incident.

‘Members of the public are advised to keep away from the area.’

Slingsby T67 Fireflys, which are two-seat aerobatic training planes, are the type of aircraft Prince Harry learned to fly in 2008 before he trained in Apache attack helicopters.

There have been 28 accidents involving similar aircraft with about 35 people killed since 1984.

Up to 20 firefighters were called to the scene and set up a foam blanket around the aircraft in case it caught fire, a North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said.

The spokesman added: ‘We have sent three appliances and one incident support unit with its own appliance.

‘They are assisting police and have set up the external foam equipment around the perimeter.’

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service told MailOnline it sent an air ambulance, ambulance and rapid response vehicle to the scene off Mains Lane, in Whitwell-on-the-Hill.

Eyewitness Andrew Moutrie, 54, from Hovingham came across the crash scene between Slingsby and Castle Howard.’It looks like the aircraft attempted a crash landing. It looks like it came through the hedge towards the field.’

Hundreds of tourists are in the area for the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 cycling event.

Castle Howard has 1,000 acres of gardens and parkland and is one of the country’s oldest stately homes.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has been informed of the incident.