Two Britons in Channel plane crash named

Two of the three Britons on board a twin-engined aircraft which plunged into the Channel were named by the Foreign Office yesterday

Two of the three Britons on board a twin-engined aircraft which plunged into the Channel were named by the Foreign Office yesterday.

The sole survivor, Mark Wilkinson, from Rugby, was still being treated for hypothermia at the Pasteur hospital in Cherbourg.

One of those who died after the crash on Wednesday was Rodney Badham, 65, from Daventry, Northamptonshire. The other victim was from Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands.

Their Beech Baron 58 aircraft was flying from Coventry airport to Guernsey when it appeared to lose engine power eight miles north of Cherbourg and plunged into the sea. All three were picked up from the sea but two were unconscious and were later pronounced dead at hospital.

The plane had left Coventry airport shortly after 9am before disappearing from the radar about 90 minutes later off the French coast.

Officials at Jersey airport alerted the French marine authorities to say that contact had been lost and a search and rescue operation began.

The local French authority said in a statement: "A tourist plane was damaged at sea off the coast of Cherbourg with three people on board. Many aviation and nautical resources were engaged. The three passengers were recovered, two of whom died." French police, who are investigating the crash, said they had recovered debris from the scene.

According to Civil Aviation Authority figures, there appears to have been a sharp rise in the accident rate among light aircraft. There were 21 accidents last year involving British-registered planes in the UK, causing 40 fatalities. There were another three accidents abroad during 2007 involving UK private aircraft; they killed another four people. In the CAA recorded 17 fatal light-aircraft accidents, leading to 26 deaths.


Owen Bowcott

The GuardianTramp

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