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  1. ITV Report

Search launched for aircraft heading to Cardiff missing in the English Channel

Library picture Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images

An air and sea search has been launched after a 'plane disappeared from radar in the English Channel.

Guernsey Police says rescue teams were scrambled to waters north of Alderney after the light aircraft vanished yesterday evening.

A search and rescue operation is currently underway off the north of Alderney after a light aircraft disappeared from radar several hours ago.

Two helicopters alongside the Guernsey and Alderney lifeboats are searching for it.

– Guernsey Police spokesperson

The Alderney lifeboat said it launched at 8.50pm on Monday night.

According to the BBC, the Piper Malibu with two people on board lost contact near the Casquets lighthouse around eight miles north-west of Alderney at 8.30pm.

The plane is thought to have been travelling from Nantes in Brittany to Cardiff.

HM Coastguard said the incident was not in the UK search and rescue area, although it had sent two helicopters to help.

HM Coastguard are currently assisting Guernsey Coastguard with a search for a light aircraft off Alderney in the Channel Islands," a spokeswoman said.

HM Coastguard helicopters from Solent and Newquay have been helping to search overnight with nothing found.

– HM Coastguard spokesperson

The search and rescue operation had to deal with worsening conditions as they scoured the area on Monday night.

At that time there were some showers around, but nothing too intense. Wind speeds were not too bad - average speeds were around 15 to 20mph.

But it has got pretty wet, we've seen a band of rain push down from the north-west. That rain set in around 11.30pm to midnight and it's still raining now.

It's also a bit windier, with gusts around 35mph.

– Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson

The aircraft is reported to be a Piper Malibu; a single engined low-wing monoplane capable of carrying a pilot and five passengers. It first flew in 1979.

There are variations in how the aircraft is powered. Early versions use a piston engine later ones have a turboprop (essentially a jet engine attached to a propellor).

Some versions are pressurised and can therefore fly higher. One model has a range of over 1400 miles.