Two men have died after a small aircraft crashed near Birr in Co Offaly this evening.

The crash happened just before 5pm.

It is understood the small plane had taken off from the airfield at Birr where the Ormond flying club is based. It was flying south when it went down south of the village of Crinkle at an area known as Ballyegan.

There were two men on board; an instructor in his 30s and a student in his 20s.

The alarm was raised immediately and a search for the aircraft got under way.

Gardaí brought in air support units and located the plane in heavy undergrowth.

Garda and air accident investigations are now under way.