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British pilot missing in Africa air show is reported safe

Associated Press Associated Press 23/11/2016 By RODNEY MUHUMUZA, Associated Press
FILE - In this Tuesday, May 1, 2007 file photo, Maurice Kirk talks about and stands next to his damaged World War II-era plane, "Liberty Girl", which he then planned to have restored, in Freeport, Maine. The organizers of a rally of vintage planes flying across Africa say the British pilot Maurice Kirk, 72, went missing Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 while flying his 1943 Piper Cub plane and had not arrived at his expected destination in Gambella, Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, May 1, 2007 file photo, Maurice Kirk talks about and stands next to his damaged World War II-era plane, "Liberty Girl", which he then planned to have restored, in Freeport, Maine. The organizers of a rally of vintage planes flying across Africa say the British pilot Maurice Kirk, 72, went missing Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 while flying his 1943 Piper Cub plane and had not arrived at his expected destination in Gambella, Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)

KAMPALA, Uganda — A British pilot who had gone missing while flying a 1943 Piper Cub plane from Sudan to Ethiopia has been found safe and well, the organizers of a trans-Africa air show said Wednesday.

All participants in the Vintage Air Rally, including the hitherto missing Maurice Kirk, are currently in Ethiopia's Gambela region.

Authorities there "have elected to allocate them accommodation at the airport rather than permit them to proceed to their pre-booked hotel," a publicist for the air show said in a statement.

It was not possible to communicate with the crews, but the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office is negotiating on their behalf, said the statement signed by Tom Burns of World Reach Coms.

Vintage Air Rally had said in a statement posted on Facebook Tuesday that Kirk, 72, had not arrived at his expected destination in Gambela, Ethiopia.

Before Kirk disappeared, he had been advised to return to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after departing Ad-Damazin, Sudan, on his way to Gambela, the statement said.

The statement did not say why, but added that Kirk had withdrawn from the air rally before he went missing.

The Vintage Air Rally billed itself as a "flying rally across Africa, from Crete to Cape Town," for biplanes built in the early 20th century.

Teams from around the world were attempting to cross 10 countries in 37 stops and 35 days.

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