Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Microlight pilot's body found off the French coast


Martin Bromage spoke to the BBC before setting off on his flight

The body of a 49-year-old microlight pilot from Cheltenham who set off on a solo charity flight to Australia has been recovered off the French coast.

Martin Bromage began his journey on Monday at Gloucestershire Airport but was reported missing during the flight.

He hoped to complete the 11,000-mile (17,702 km) trip in six weeks and raise £150,000 for Help for Heroes.

Dover Coastguard said there was bad visibility in the area at the time and revealed he was trying to turn back.

'Spirit of adventure'

Speaking to BBC News on the day he set off from Staverton in Gloucestershire, the experienced pilot said: "It's been a year in the planning.

"It's a challenge and the opportunity to raise money for Help for Heroes is such a worthy cause.

"I've always had a good spirit of adventure. This has been done before - five people have done it before in microlights but I'm the second person to do it solo and unsupported."

He's a really good member of the community, well liked and well known and it's truly truly tragic to hear what's happened
Mark Ryan, Gloucestershire Airport

The Coastguard said Mr Bromage - who also had 20 years of experience using paragliders - was trying to return to the UK after weather conditions prevented him landing in France.

A spokesman said: "There was dense fog all day yesterday. That was why he couldn't land in France. He couldn't land in France and was trying to come back to the UK."

The spokesman added that the information was received in Mr Bromage's final transmission at 1310 GMT on Monday.

Mark Ryan, director of Gloucestershire Airport, said: "We're all very very deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Martin's unfortunate accident.

"He's a really good member of the community, well liked and well known and it's truly, truly tragic to hear what's happened."

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