Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Pensioner missing after plane crash

Royal Navy vessel HMS Tyne, which has been helping in the search for the 79-year-old pilot of a light aircraft that crashed into the English Channel (LA(PHOT) Kyle Heller/MoD/ PA)

Rescuers have called off a search for a missing pensioner whose plane crashed at sea.

Ian Dickinson, 79, was piloting the single engine aircraft when it went into the English Channel 25-miles off the coast of Guernsey on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Dickinson's wife, Anne-Marie, 78, was rescued from a liferaft by a Russian merchant vessel and flown to hospital by helicopter.

A search and rescue operation was quickly launched to locate Mr Dickinson but has now been called off. It is unclear whether the search will begin again on Monday.

Mrs Dickinson has been was discharged from hospital but instead of returning to the couple's home in Alderney she is being looked after by relatives.

Inspector John Davis, of Guernsey Police, said she had not been questioned yet about what happened before the plane, which had left the UK's south coast, went down.

He said: "Mrs Dickinson has been released into the care of her relatives and is apparently bearing up very well despite her ordeal."

News of the couple's involvement in the crash was broken to friends at St Anne's Church by the Rev Stephen Masters.

Alderney's political leader John Beaman said Mrs Dickinson was well liked and a popular figure because of her work with the horticultural society.

"It is very very sad news, they are such a nice couple," he said. "I do know Anne-Marie quite well and the sympathy of all the states members goes to her, all best wishes go to her."