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Missing British pilot flying vintage plane found in Ethiopia

Missing British pilot flying vintage plane found in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

A missing British pilot Maurice Kirk, 71, who disappeared between Sudan and Ethiopia while flying his plane in air rally has been found.

Maurice, a retired vet, was taking part in the Vintage Air Rally flying from Crete to Cape Town when he was reported missing.

Organisers said Kirk and his 1943 Piper Cub plane disappeared somewhere between Sudan and Ethiopia, and a search and rescue operation had been launched.

The vintage air rally had something of a problem in Ethiopia; we were under the impression that we had been issued our permits and indeed we were clear to take off from Sudan to fly to Gambela in Ethiopia.

The race director Sam Rutherford said the team landed at Ethiopia without a permission.

“The vintage air rally had something of a problem in Ethiopia; we were under the impression that we had been issued our permits and indeed we were clear to take off from Sudan to fly to Gambela in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, there had been a poor or a break down in communications between the authorities in Ethiopia and the Sudanese authorities and our permission to take off should never been given,” he said.

Rutherford noted that they were held in the airport and were not allowed any contact with the outside world, adding that their phones were confiscated.

“We spent two days in Ethiopia and then set off from there to Sudan, he didn’t tell us where he was going but we had set off at the same time and unfortunately also he didn’t arrive at our next destination either meaning that for the second time in two flights we had to launch another search and rescue procedure with the Kenyan authorities,” he added.

The project involved 40 men and women, husband and wife teams, fathers and daughters, entire families attempting to fly more than 8,000 miles across Africa in old aircraft that were designed to do little more than short-distance.

They were aiming to cross 10 African countries.

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