Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Remains found near plane wreckage

Alex de Gruchy
Jersey air traffic controllers lost contact with Mr de Gruchy over the Channel

Search teams looking for a Jersey man whose light aircraft disappeared off the French coast say they have found human remains as well as plane parts.

However, no documents have yet been discovered which would help authorities to identify the pilot or the wreckage.

As a result, they cannot confirm if it is linked to the disappearance of Alex de Gruchy, who lost contact with air traffic controllers on Sunday.

Mr de Gruchy was on his way from a Kent airfield to Jersey when he disappeared.

The French Coastguard, the Prefecture Maritime, said its search aircraft spotted debris about thirteen nautical miles north of the port of Cherbourg on Monday.

The wreckage is expected to be brought ashore in France later.

Inquiry opened

Mr de Gruchy, whose family run De Gruchy Funeral Services, is thought to be in his 20s. He is understood to have been the only person aboard the 8m (26ft) long Cirrus SR22 single engine plane which was heading to Jersey Aero club.

Jersey air traffic control lost radar contact with Mr De Gruchy's aircraft on Sunday at about 1730 GMT.

similar to the one Mr de Gruchy was flying
Mr de Gruchy was flying from Biggin Hill Airfield to Jersey Aero Club

A helicopter from RAF Chivenor in Devon joined rescue services from Guernsey, French maritime police and the French navy in the search for the 8m (26ft) long Cirrus SR22 single engine plane.

Four passenger ferries also initially helped in the operation.

The state prosecutor in Cherbourg has ordered an inquiry into the air crash and Marine Gendarmes (naval police), based at the French port, have begun investigating the disappearance of the single engine plane.

The French Accident Investigation Bureau will also take part in the enquiry.

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