Missing helicopter - search resumes today

Helicopter missing in northern Italy with seven on board

By Region News North-east Italy

Yesterday, a search started for a missing helicopter carrying seven people which disappeared from the radar after taking off from Capannori Lucca Tassignano airport in Lucca. The search resumes today.

The helicopter left Capannori Lucca Tassignano airport in Lucca, Italy, yesterday morning. It was due to make an hour-long journey but never arrived at its destination

Volunteers are searching for the missing helicopter in what officials describe as vast and largely uninhabited terrain. The area is the ridges of the Apennines, between the provinces of Lucca and Modena.

Local media reports that the aircraft had been hired by a household chemical manufacturer named Roto Court to transport clients to a new plant. Giuliano Gelain, a director at the company, told Italian news agency ANSA he was “confident” the chopper had not crashed, as it did not send out an emergency signal.

Vanished into thin air

Those on board are reported to be an Italian pilot, four Turkish nationals and two people from Lebanon.

The flight took off at 9.30am local time, and was expected to land at 10.30am. However, it vanished from radars a short time later. As it was a private flight, the Venetian pilot did not need to file a flight plan. Instead, the pilot merely informed the airport he would not require a stopover in in Pavullo nel Frignano.

Therefore, it was only when the helicopter company’s technician informed the tower they had had no news from the pilot, that the search was initiated.

“We immediately informed the carabinieri,“ Lucca In Diretta reports safety manager Jacopo Del Carlo as saying .  “Then we reported the case to the prefecture. We carry out an information service: for flights like this we limit ourselves to registering the arrival and departure. But when the company technician pointed out that he no longer had any contact, we treated everything with the utmost seriousness due in cases like this”.

Italian news site Reggio reports that an emergency landing in a remote area has not been ruled out.

Mr Gelain said that the chopper usually carries clients backwards and forwards twice a day.

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