Training aircraft goes missing off Lebanon's coast

Rescue operation under way for two people aboard the Cessna 172

Rescuers in Lebanon are searching for two people aboard a small training aircraft that went missing shortly after take-off on Wednesday.

The plane, a Cessna 172, is believed to have crashed in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Halat, a town about 20 kilometres north of the capital Beirut.

Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said the aircraft belonged to the Lebanese Aviation Club.

"I gave directions to the Civil Defence to intensify search and rescue operations at the site, and instructed the Internal Security Forces to participate in the operation," Mr Mawlawi wrote on Twitter.

According to a rescue official quoted by local media, no wreckage of the aircraft had been spotted as of Thursday morning, suggesting the pilot was able to bring the plane intact.

The plane took off at about 10am on Wednesday and disappeared from radar about 20 minutes later, according to the directorate general of civil aviation in Lebanon.

Updated: October 14th 2021, 5:27 AM