Trainer aircraft crashes off Lebanese coast, two missing
Search operations were launched after a trainer aircraft that was carrying two people crashed on Wednesday morning in Lebanese waters.
The small training plane which belongs to the Lebanese aviation club, Aeroclub of Lebanon, crashed at around 10.40 a.m. (7.40 a.m. GMT) off the coast of Halat, 32 km north of Beirut, according to an army statement.
A pilot and a trainee were reportedly carrying out a training flight between the coastal cities of Byblos and Jounieh in the four-seater Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
Civil defence teams and the army’s naval and air force units quickly began a search operation in the Mediterranean waters.
Director General of the Lebanese Civil Defence Raymond Khattar told local media that the search area was large and the sea was unsteady, adding that a number of divers were participating in the operation.
"We will continue the search, and till now we’ve only found one life jacket that wasn’t opened," he revealed.
Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi inspected the search operation from the air.
"I will discuss with the public works and transport minister the matter of these civilian aircrafts and accidents happening from time to time," he told reporters.
A passenger and his two pilots died when their training aircraft crashed in a mountainous area in July during foggy weather.
The plane was also a Cessna 172 and belonged to the company Open Sky Aviation.