THIS WEEK IN 1985: ‘No hope’ for pilot who ditched over Channel

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A Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-the-Solent carried out an extensive but futile search for a pilot who ditched in the freezing waters of the Channel.

David Reggi, of Shoreham, was believed to have drowned after the engine of his light Cessna aircraft failed 13 miles off Alderney.

The HMS Daedalus rescue team were forced to stay overnight at Guernsey after searching for Mr Reggi in bitter conditions.

SAR fight commander, Lieutenant Commander Adrian Thomas, said: ‘Our crew was called out at 3.55pm by the Southern Rescue co-ordination centre at Plymouth.

‘They said that there was a light aircraft experiencing engine trouble between here and the Channel Islands.’

But the SAR crew of Lieutenant John Middleton, Chief Petty Officer Richard Foster and Chief Petty Officer Mick Roswell were only airborne for a few minutes before they were told that the pilot had ditched.

‘They began a search about 13 miles north-west of Alderney and were joined by a French helicopter.’

All radar contact was lost with the plane by 4.20pm.