Bath Travel joint managing director Stephen Bath avoided a helicopter crash which killed two friends because he was attending a birthday party instead.

Bath was a close acquaintance of pilot Mark Blaver-Mann and passenger Alistair Evans, who died after their helicopter burst into flames and crashed into woodland at Coll de Sa Gramola in Majorca on Saturday morning.

He said: “I am totally shocked. I was with Alastair and Mark for dinner last Friday and had it not been for a 60th birthday party at the weekend, I would have probably accepted their invitation to join them.

“They were both good friends and good company. It’s very sad and my thoughts are with their families,” the former Abta president was reported as saying.