Rescue operation under way after tourist plane goes missing in Iceland

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Rescue teams in Iceland are searching for a small tourist plane that is thought to have crashed on a sightseeing trip.

The aircraft is thought to have gone down in the Thingvellir National Park area, 50 kilometres east of the capital Reykjavik.

The Cessna C172 plane was carrying a local pilot, as well as three tourists from the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium.

More than 500 members of Iceland’s Search and Rescue organisation — along with boats, divers and two Icelandic Coast Guard helicopters — are involved in the search.

The plane took off from the domestic airport in Reykjavik on Thursday for a scheduled two-hour tour.

It last made contact with aviation authorities about an hour later, authorities said, adding that they did not receive any distress signal.

Officials said the aircraft may have crashed over Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that contains Iceland’s second-largest lake.

“We are basing the search on information gathered from phones and also on air traffic control (ATC) tracking information,” said Asgeir Erlendsson, spokesman for the Icelandic coast guard.

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