Search For Missing Pilot Called Off

Rescuers have decided not to resume a search for the missing pilot of a light aircraft which crashed in the English Channel.

Both British and French rescue teams carried out an air and sea search after the American-registered single engine plane, with one person on board, came down in the middle of the Channel yesterday afternoon (Sunday 21st July), about 15 miles off Dungeness in Kent.

Coastguards say the alarm was raised at 2.30pm after the Dover Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) was told the plane had failed to arrive at Le Touquet airport after leaving Blackbushe airport in Hampshire.

Wreckage was later found by the French search and rescue helicopter and last night teams worked against the clock to try to find the missing pilot before suspending the search after light faded.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch spokesman said: "The AAIB have deployed a team to collect evidence and begin an initial investigation.

"The position of the aircraft will determine if the full investigation will be led by the AAIB or the French authorities."

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