BREAKING: Brit found dead in Costa Del Sol after pleading for help in WhatsApp message

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(Pic: GETTY)

A major search was sparked at around 4pm local time on Saturday after the man sent a WhatsApp message to loved ones back in the UK asking for help.

His family contacted UK police who alerted Spanish police via consular officials in Malaga.

The search, which involved Civil Guard officers, firefighters and civil protection workers, had to be suspended late last night.

His lifeless body was then found just after 9am this morning after it was spotted by a police helicopter mobilised at the start of the second day of the search.

(Pic: GOOGLE MAPS)

The top of the mountain the Brit was trying to reach is called La Concha.

It is just under 4,000ft above sea level and offers stunning views of a large part of the Costa del Sol coastline, the ocean and Gibraltar and Morocco on a clear day.

It is a popular weekend destination for locals, expats and holidaymakers, although summer is not an advisable time to try the hike during the main part of the day because of the high summer temperatures.

It takes about three hours to reach the top of La Concha from Marbella or a car park area near the inland town of Ojen where a lot of walkers start from.

(Pic: GETTY)

(Pic: GOOGLE MAPS)

The man who died has not yet been named and no details have been given out about his age.

It was not immediately clear if he sent the SOS to his family because he got lost or had suffered an accident.

In the past it was not unheard of for hikers unfamiliar with the terrain to get lost, especially on the way back down from the peak, but more signposts have been put up in recent years making it easier to stick to the main path.

Three Irish holidaymakers sparked a massive air and land rescue after getting lost on the mountain in ninety degree heat in August 2008.

(Pic: GETTY)

The Dublin trio phoned friends after running out of water and succumbing to dehydration as they attempted to reach the summit.

Their pals made matters worse after alerting emergency services – by trying to reach the stricken men in their beachwear and forcing a second separate rescue after losing their way too.

Local Civil Protection boss Jesus Egia, who helped coordinate the rescue, was quoted at the time as saying: “They weren’t adequately prepared for the climb they attempted and they made things worse by moving from the spot they first phoned their friends from.

“We were searching an entirely different area to start with based on the coordinates we were first given.”

No details have yet been given out about when the Brit found dead this morning started walking to the summit and whether he was an experienced hiker adequately prepared for the climb or had underestimated its difficulties in high summer temperatures.

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