Normandy Sea Rescue Helicopter Helps in Search for Missing British Couple

St-Ouens-Bay-3French sea rescue services from Normandy helped with the emergency search for a British couple after their light aircraft ditched into the sea a few miles from Jersey.

The couple were named as businessman Carl Whitely and his wife Kathryn who had just left Dinan in France and were not far from the Normandy coast when the Cessna Crusader got into difficulty and lost contact with air traffic control in thick fog.

It was understood to be on an approach to Jersey airport to refuel before carrying on to the English mainland when it crashed off St Ouen’s Bay on Thursday morning.

An extensive search of the area covering seven miles was launched which included a French rescue helicopter from Cherbourg, two RNLI lifeboats, and the Royal Navy’s HMS Northumberland which was training in the area at the time. A Manche Iles ferry with 205 passengers on board which was on its way to Sark also joined the search.

Wreckage was found in the sea just before lunchtime and the rescue was called off as it became apparent that no one could have survived. The couple, from the West Midlands, had a holiday home in Cornwall where they are thought to have kept the plane.

British air accident investigators are now trying to establish what happened. Contact had been lost with the plane and emergency services were alered at 10.20 am.

The same French rescue helicopter from Cherbourg was in action again on Wednesday night and Thursday morning when the wife of a sailor reported that he had not returned to Le Havre as expected.

He was alone sailing at 7.5 meter yacht but attempts to contact him on the boat’s radio were unsuccessful. A search was also begun on land in case the boat had been washed ashore overnight.

Thick fog around Normandy during the morning has been making it hard for drivers, sailors and pilots. It usually clears by lunchtime. But thunder and lightening is predicted for the end of the week with September’s hot spell coming to a close.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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