Britons missing in Brazilian plane crash.

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Rescuers are searching for four Britons missing after their plane disappeared off the coast of Brazil.
The Foreign Office confirmed that Alan Kempson, Sean Woodall, Ricky Every and Nigel Hodges were on board.
According to reports, the Britons are businessmen who are involved in the tourist industry and own hotels and apartments in Brazil's tropical Bahia region.
The search was launched after the twin-engine Cessna 310 in which they were travelling lost contact with air-traffic controllers minutes before it was due to land in the coastal city of Ilheus on Friday night.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "I can confirm that there were four passengers, all four of whom were British, and two pilots."
The spokeswoman added that next of kin had been informed, and that no other details about the men are available. It is understood that three of the four do not live in the UK.
A number of aircraft were sent to look for the plane after it disappeared off the Atlantic coast. Brazilian authorities were also reportedly investigating eyewitnesses who said they saw a plane crash.
The flight was operated by Aero Star, a small charter firm based in Salvador, Bahia's state capital.
Ellen Duarte, business manager for Aero Star, said the Cessna made its final contact with the Ilheus control tower at 5.43pm local time (2143 BST) as it flew south from Salvador. "It was flying perfectly," Ms Duarte said. "The pilot said he was making a visual approach to the airport, and that was the last we heard."
Brazil's coastguard and three Aero Star helicopters searched for signs of a crash, but found nothing, she said. Bahia state police and air rescue have also joined the search.

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Profile picture for user Newforest

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14 years 7 months

Posts: 8,820

Still no news that I have found about the crash. One of the Britons had received a suspended prison sentence in 2001 for fraud.

Brazil's air force was yesterday scouring the country's north-eastern coastline
for survivors after a plane carrying four British businessmen vanished over the
Atlantic on Friday afternoon.

The men, named as Alan Kempson, Nigel Hodges, Sean Woodhall and Ricky Every,
were travelling from the north-eastern tourist capital of Salvador to the city
of Ilhéus about 125 miles away on Friday afternoon when their twin-engine Cessna
plane disappeared.

Yesterday morning there were unconfirmed reports that pieces of wreckage,
possibly from the missing plane, had been found near Ilhéus.

The privately charted air taxi took off from Salvador's airport at 5pm on
Friday. Forty-three minutes later its two Brazilian pilots communicated for the
last time with the tower at Ilhéus airport to say they were preparing to land.
They had been due to arrive nine minutes later.

Márcio Rodrigues Coutinho, a 43-year-old resident of the beach town Itacare,
told Brazil's Globo TV he had seen a small plane flying low at about 6pm on
Friday.

"The plane was much lower than usual for the planes that fly over this region.
It was starting to get dark and its lights were on. I didn't hear any noise from
the motor," he said.

Two of the missing passengers are involved in Worldwide Destinations, a property
development company that specialises in emerging property markets and has
real-estate projects in Egypt and Brazil.

The group is working on the construction of a luxury, seaside eco-resort with an
18-hole golf course near Ilhéus called the Barra Nova Pearl Eco-Nature Resort.
The company's website claimed that "Brazil's outstanding natural beauty, safe
political climate, dazzling beaches, tropical habitat, exotic food, colourful
culture and vibrant cities" made it a perfect ex-pat destination.

Woodhall is the group's president while Every reportedly lives in Brazil and is
the company's representative in South America.

According to the Brazilian newspaper A Tarde the group claimed to have business
ties to Prince Albert of Monaco.

In 2001 Woodhall received an 18-month suspended sentence after being convicted
of a £1.4m fraud in the UK. He subsequently moved to Spain.
Hodges and Kempson work for Diamond Lifestyle Holdings, a Cambridgeshire-based
finance company.

Woodall's parents, speaking at their home in Tempsford, near Sandy,
Bedfordshire, said they were refusing to give up hope.

His father, who did not wish to be named, said: "We're going out of our minds. I
know they are now saying they are looking for bodies but we're keeping our hopes
alive. We don't believe he's dead.

"We only found out yesterday when we saw it on Teletext. My wife and I had been
gardening all day then sat down for a cup of tea and saw the news. My wife has a
heart condition and is seriously distressed, I'm very worried for her."

The local newspaper Correio da Bahia suggested the group's plane had been flying
over the area where the eco-resort was to be constructed shortly before
disappearing.

Other reports claimed the group had been forced to cancel a helicopter trip
earlier on the same day because of poor weather conditions.

Claudio Soares, the owner of a Salvador-based air taxi company who knew the
businessmen, said the group had planned to fly over several islands off Brazil's
north eastern coast in a helicopter before heading to Ilheus. Bad weather forced
them to cancel the trip, he said. "The weather was not 100% for the flight."

Caliana Mesquita, a 20-year-old student, was one of the last people to see the
plane. "The plane seemed a bit out of control. It swung out towards the sea and
then back towards the forest. Not long after it disappeared," she told Globo.

Yesterday a search party including helicopters, boats and foot patrols was
searching a 25-mile stretch of coastline for the executives and their two
Brazilian pilots.

According to the Brazilian air force there have been 40 accidents involving
small planes this year.

With its virtually uninterrupted beaches and year-round sun, north-eastern
Brazil is billed as the new Algarve by property developers. A growing number of
British citizens, many of them retired, are choosing to set up home there, drawn
by the golden beaches and the cheaper cost of living. Several European companies
offer slices of the Brazilian coastline for a fraction of the price charged in
more established resort areas such as the Caribbean.

In January this year David Beckham visited the region to announce the
construction of a football academy in the north-eastern state of Natal. The
development, funded by a Norwegian development group, will include a
10,000-capacity beachside football stadium.

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