Two Britons killed as plane plunges into Channel
Small plane plunged into the sea off the French coast killing two of the British occupants while a third was plucked from the freezing water
CHERBOURG, France, Jan 24, 2008 - A small plane plunged into the sea
off the French coast on Wednesday killing two of the British occupants while a
third was plucked from the freezing water, officials said.
The twin-engined Beechcraft Baron, on a flight from Coventry in central
England, came down 13 kilometres (eight miles) north of the French port of
Cherbourg as it approached a landing on the island of Guernesey.
Air traffic controllers in the Channel Islands alerted French rescue
services after losing contact with the aircraft, and two helicopters and two
patrol boats were scrambled.
A diver from one French navy helicopters pulled two people from the sea but
they were declared dead on arrival at a Cherbourg hospital.
A third person, "conscious but in a state of hypothermia" was rescued by a
patrol boat. The 48-year-old man was said to be suffering from shock.
According to a source close to the investigation, both engines on the
Boats were warned to avoid the area pending the recovery of debris from the
plane which could help to determine the cause of the accident.
In Britain, a spokeswoman for Coventry Airport confirmed that the
privately-owned aircraft took off at 9.12am en route to Guernsey.
The Foreign Office confirmed that all three passengers were British. "I can
confirm that two British nationals have died after the plane crashed this
morning," said a spokesman, adding that the third Briton was taken to hospital.
"Consular staff are currently trying to contact next-of-kin," he added.