Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Pilot recalls Channel crash alert

Mr Eddlestone said his escape was miraculous

A pilot from Sunderland has spoken about how he was just minutes from hitting the sea as his plane suddenly lost power over the English Channel.

Mark Eddlestone's single-engine aircraft began plummeting at 300ft-a-minute as the crew headed to Jersey.

The 24-year-old said he feared he and his two co-pilots would crash into the icy waters.

However, he managed to land the Cessna 182 aircraft safely on the three mile-long Channel island of Alderney.

Mr Eddleston, who gained his pilot's licence in 2001, alerted emergency services about the situation shortly before noon on Monday.

The party had set off from Sandtoft, near Doncaster, for a three-day break in Jersey.

Mr Eddlestone said: "From what was meant to be a week of fun it has turned into a miraculous, safe recovery.

"About half way we had rough running on the engine and lost our manifold pressure, which meant the engine was still running but was unable to maintain current altitude of about 5,000ft, so we were coming down.

"Luckily we had sufficient altitude to make it to Alderney, just.

"It was very close - [we're] more than happy to be on the ground now."

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