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A private helicopter which was carrying a group of seven people on board has sparked a huge search party after vanishing in Italy.

Rescue teams have launched a desperate hunt for the aircraft which was set to arrive in Treviso within an hour after taking off from Capannori Lucca Tassignano airport in Lucca.

However, the helicopter mysteriously went off the radar, which sparked fears from officials who raised the alarm.

The search mission which took place between the regions of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna had to be put to a halt last night ( June 10) and recommenced this morning.

It is believed the helicopter was hired by a business named Roto Court, which manufactures hygiene products and household chemicals.

Company director Giuliano Gelain that they were "confident" the helicopter did not crash as no emergency signal was received.

He said that the helicopter flew customers to and from the sites twice a day, reports news agency ANSA

Gelain added: "I am convinced that it did not crash otherwise, according to the technicians, an alarm signal would have been sent, which we have never received."

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The chopper was carrying the Italian pilot and six others – with four of them being Turkish citizens and two Lebanese, reports La Stampa.

They left the airport at 9.30am local time on Thursday, June 10, and were expected to land by 10.30am the same day.

An emergency landing in a remote area could still be a possibility, according to local site Reggio.

The rescue included help from Air Force military, 24 volunteers from the Emilia-Romagna regional civil protection and more.

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