A baby has died in a Spanish airport after becoming trapped in the baggage conveyor belt, local officials have confirmed.

The accident happened at Alicante-Elche airport when the five-month-old baby's American mother laid his carrier on a special carousel for oversized luggage, which was stationary at the time.

The weight of the carrier automatically activated the machine and the baby was carried off to the entrance of the bag drop, according to a spokesman for Spanish police.

The infant was pronounced dead at the scene despite desperate resuscitation attempts by the airport's on-call doctor.

The baby, his mother and another young child had flown in from Gatwick Airport on an EasyJet flight, where the woman's Canadian husband was waiting for them. Reports suggest the family were due to take a holiday on the nearby Costa Blanca.

A Guardia Civil spokesman said: "We are still in the early stages of the investigation and looking at CCTV footage, but it seems that it was an accident.

"The mother left the baby on the conveyor belt, which can be activated by detecting weight or by an airport employee.

"It seems that the baby carrier's weight activated the belt and the child was trapped in the rollers in the drop zone."

A post-mortem on the baby is due to take place imminently, while the family are to undergo counselling.