The dead Briton is understood to have lost his life after falling near 80ft while abseiling at Monte Ponoig, a rocky mountain called the Sleeping Lion by locals because of its silhouette when seen from the nearby town of Polop, half an hour’s drive inland from Costa Blanca resorts like Calpe. It is one of the most emblematic mountains in the province of Alicante and is a popular spot for walkers as well as rock climbers.
The injured woman is believed to be a 33-year-old Briton, although officials could not be reached to confirm her nationality.
She was taken to safety by a mountain rescue team on board Alfa 1, a fire service helicopter.
The tragedy happened around 4.30pm on Tuesday.
The Briton’s death will be probed by a local investigating magistrate.
One local report said it was not yet clear if it could be linked to a fault with equipment or a health problem he suffered.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard in Alicante said the tragedy was still being investigated but it was being treated as an accident.
He said experts from the force’s mountain rescue team called GREIM would carry out an inspection of the area where the incident happened and look at the possibility the abseil anchor had broken off because of an equipment fault or because it had not been attached properly.
It also emerged that the injured woman was the sister-in-law of the man who died.
Officials said he was 36, not 35 as originally thought, and confirmed the survivor is a 33-year-old Brit.
The Civil Guard spokesman said: “The alert was raised just after 4pm on Tuesday.
“Emergency responders sent some time trying to save the life of the man who died but he had suffered a serious wound to his chest which frustrated the attempts to revive him.
“He fell from a height of around 80ft and the woman he was with fell from a height of just over 25 feet.
“They had climbed to the top of the mountain and were abseiling down it when the tragedy occurred.
“Members of the Civil Guard GREIM team will be carrying out a site inspection later today (WED) to try to establish why this accident happened.”
A well-placed source added: “At this stage it’s looking like the abseil anchor broke away, either because of a fault with the equipment or because it hadn’t been attached properly to the rock-face.
“The incident wasn’t caused by any health problems involving the British pair as was initially suggested as a possibility.
“They appear to have been experienced climbers and it looks like they were on holiday in the area.
“We’ve been told the survivor is the sister-in-law of the man who died.”
A spokesman for the local fire service added: “The woman was rescued in a fire service helicopter and taken to a fire station in Benidorm before being transferred to hospital.
“The dead man’s body was also taken by helicopter separately to the same fire station but police investigators then took charge of the situation.”
In January last year a 51-year-old Brit died after falling 150ft during a rock climb with a friend near the same spot as yesterday’s/Tuesday’s tragedy.
He was trying to scale Penya Roc, a 3,635ft mountain peak sometimes referred to as Penyo Roc which ranks as the 46th highest mountain in the autonomous community of Valencia which includes the provinces of Alicante and Valencia.