Light aircraft with 2 on board disappears over the English Channel

Its last known position was halfway over the English Channel at about 25 miles.

Lille, France:

A search was underway on Sunday to locate a British light aircraft with two people on board that disappeared over the English Channel, the French coastguard said.

The Piper PA-28 plane took off on Saturday from Wellesbourne, a village in central England, bound for the northern French seaside resort of Le Touquet, the maritime prefecture announced.

The UK-registered aircraft had taken off with five other light aircraft as part of a joint sortie, the prefecture said.

Its last known position was halfway over the English Channel about 25 miles (45 kilometers) from Dungeness in southeast England, according to the British Coastguard.

A major search operation carried out on Saturday by the British and French authorities proved unsuccessful.

Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that the single-engine plane belonged to a staff instructor at a Wellesbourne-based flying school.

He named him as Guy Wakeley. The flight school’s website lists his former roles as managing director of Morrison, a public housing maintenance group, and financial services group Equiniti.

The website said it was organizing a “Club Fly-Out” to Le Touquet on Saturday. A school official declined to say who was on the plane to The Sunday Telegraph.

The search resumed on Sunday with a French helicopter and a French navy rescue boat, as well as a British coastguard plane.

Commercial vessels present in the area have also been called upon, but no debris has yet been found and no witnesses have reported seeing the plane crash, the prefecture told AFP.

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