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A search is on for a Hewlett-Packard employee who is missing after a door was opened during the flight of one of the firm's shuttle craft.

HP said one of its purchasing staff is missing after the incident which happened during a company-operated shuttle flight for staff between Roseville and San Jose, California.

Bruce Nelson, an operations officer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles, confirmed the incident to Reuters.

"About five miles southeast of Sacramento, at 2000 feet, a female reportedly jumped or fell from the aircraft," Nelson told the agency.

In a brief statement HP said: "We are deeply concerned and are helping authorities to determine what happened. Out of respect for the individuals involved, we are not providing additional information at this time."

The plane, which was carrying five passengers and two pilots, was a Canadian-built DeHavilland DHC-6-300, a twin turboprop plane used for the regular shuttle flights.

During the flight, pilots noticed a warning light for an open plane door and landed in Sacremento airport. However it was only shortly after taking off again that the woman's absence was noted. ®

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