Sea search after Blackpool-bound light aircraft disappears from radar screens

Updated: 
Search for Missing Aircraft Off the Coast of Blackpool, UK

A missing light aircraft may have ditched into the sea after disappearing from radar screens, the UK Coastguard has said.

A major search is under way off the coast of Blackpool after contact was lost with the pilot who was flying solo from the Isle of Man to Blackpool Airport.

The small plane disappeared off radar on its approach to the airport shortly after 9am.

Contact was lost with the pilot some three miles out at sea.

Matthew Mace, duty controller at the UK Coastguard said: "There are reports of low visibility in the area so there is a strong likelihood that this aircraft may have ditched into the sea after contact was lost and it disappeared from the radar.

"We currently have a helicopter and several Coastguard teams out searching for this aircraft."

A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that crews from Lytham St Annes and Bispham were at the scene providing assistance to police and coastguard teams.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We got a call at 9:17am from police, the information given was that (there was) a light aircraft en route from the Isle of Man to Blackpool Airport with one person on board, obviously the pilot.

"The communications were lost with the air traffic control some three miles out at sea."

Lytham St Annes coastguard rescue team, along with three RNLI lifeboats, two from Lytham St Annes and one from Blackpool, are involved in the search.

The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Caernarfon is also searching.