Search for pilot called off

Air accident investigators are trying to work out why a light aircraft crashed into the English Channel near Kent.

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Aircraft crash search suspended

A search for an aircraft which is believed to have crashed in the English Channel off the Kent coast has been suspended due to fading light.

The search started this afternoon after reports that an aircraft had failed to arrive at its destination airport in France.

Dover Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which is co-ordinating the search, was first contacted at 2.30pm.

A single engine aircraft with one person on board failed to arrive at Le Touquet airport having left Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire earlier on today.

A French search and rescue helicopter located wreckage approximately 15 miles off Dungeness.

A search and rescue helicopter joined in with the search, along with the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat, and three French vessels.

Further discussions will be held in the morning as to the next course of action.

Wreckage found after aircraft crash

Wreckage has been found in the English Channel off the Kent coast after a light aircraft crash. The American-registered plane carrying one person on board came down about 15 miles off Dungeness in Kent at 2.30pm today.

A cross-Channel search and rescue operation was launched, involving French and British helicopters, the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat and French vessels. Wreckage has been found but tonight teams were working against the clock to find the missing pilot before the light fades.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said the incident happened four miles inside UK waters.

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Light aircraft crash off Kent coast

British and French emergency teams have responded to reports that a light aircraft has crashed into the English Channel. The American-registered plane carrying one person on board came down about 15 miles off Dungeness in Kent at around 2.30pm today.

A cross-Channel search and rescue operation has been launched involving both English and French teams, including a French helicopter and the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat. The alarm was raised after the single-engine light aircraft, which was headingfrom London to Le Touquet, was overdue.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said: 'A French helicopter has been searching for two hours. That will have to return shortly and that will be replaced by a search and rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham in Suffolk. The search is ongoing at the moment to find the pilot.'

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