Hunt of sea crash pilot abandoned
Rescuers have decided not to resume a search for the missing pilot of a light aircraft which crashed in the English Channel, coastguards have said.
An air and sea search was mobilised by British and French rescuers after the American-registered single-engine plane, with one person on board, came down in the middle of the Channel on Sunday afternoon, about 15 miles off Dungeness in Kent.
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 after leaving Blackbushe airport in Hampshire, the Coastguard said.
A cross-Channel search and rescue operation led by UK maritime authorities was launched, involving French and British helicopters, the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat and three French vessels.
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.
A spokesman for Dover Coastguard said the search would not resume.
"Having taken the advice of the RAF as well as the French rescue authorities, we have decided that we won't be resuming the search," he said.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said the incident happened four miles inside UK waters.
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."