A couple with two children who married last summer were among the three victims of a plane crash which closed one of the country's busiest rail routes, it emerged tonight.
British Transport Police (BTP) said Nick O'Brien, 35, and his 29-year-old wife Emma, from Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, were passengers on board the light aircraft when it crashed at Little Haywood, near Stafford, at about noon yesterday.
A BTP spokeswoman said the couple had two sons, Callum, aged 10, and 18-month-old Joel.
It is understood that the pilot of the plane, Alan Matthews, knew Mr O'Brien through his work with a Birmingham-based demolition firm.
Mr Matthews, a member of a flying club based near Lichfield, Staffordshire, was said by friends to be a well-liked and proficient pilot who had almost two decades of flying experience, often making trips to France and Spain.
His wife Jenny Matthews, from Walsall Wood, West Midlands, issued a short statement through BTP paying tribute to her husband as a "loving, caring" man who would help anybody and loved flying.
The BTP spokeswoman said: "Nick and Emma O'Brien married in August 2008 and leave behind two children.
"The families of all the victims ask the media to leave them to grieve in private at this time."
Meanwhile, work was continuing at the crash site tonight to gather evidence and recover the wreckage of the aircraft.
"The line is not expected to be fully restored this weekend and passengers are
asked to check with their train operator before travelling," the BTP spokeswoman said.
Police initially said that "at least two people" had died after the plane crashed into overhead power lines beside a railway junction close to a housing estate.
The aircraft is believed to have been a Piper Cherokee based at the Sittles Flying Club, which operates from an airfield near the village of Fradley.
Members of the club paid tribute to Mr Matthews - who is thought to have a son aged in his 30s - as a "nice chap" with many years of experience as a pilot.
Among three floral tributes placed at the gates of a maintenance yard near the crash site was one from members of the club.
The bouquet had a card attached which read: "All our thoughts and prayers are with you. Fly in Peace."
Club member John Gattrell told the Press Association: "Alan was very experienced and very well-liked by all the club's members. He will be sorely missed by us all."
Fellow club member Richard Morris said of the married father: "He was a very nice chap and he was one of our long-standing members at the club.
"We are all deeply shocked to hear of this accident - he was a very good, experienced flyer and we are just totally shocked really."
A statement issued by the club on its website also paid tribute to Mr Matthews.
"We will miss him deeply. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family at this terrible time."