Britons missing in Brazil

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Britons were feared to be among the passengers on a small plane missing off the coast of Brazil last night, the Foreign Office said yesterday.

Coastguards, police and military units were last night carrying out a search for a twin-engine Cessna 310 aircraft, which disappeared from radar contact shortly before it was due to land in Ilheus, northeastern Brazil. An eyewitness is reported to have seen the plane go down after it apparently lost power.

The carrier Aero Star said its aircraft, with two pilots on board, disappeared eight miles from shore. According to Aero Star's business manager, Ellen Duarte, the weather was good and the Brazilian pilots did not report any problems. She said the company could not identify the passengers but that they were in the tourist property business. The British consulate in Sao Paulo has been notified.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office confirmed the plane had been reported missing, saying: "It is possible that there are British nationals on board."