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Aircraft search off Isle of Man abandoned

The search for an aircraft which issued a distress call off the coast of the Isle of Man has been abandoned.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said an "extensive search" had been launched after RAF Kinloss in Scotland reported that the aircraft had issued an emergency code.

But the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said a four-hour search operation had been called off after nothing was found.

An RNLI spokesman said: "A significant search has been carried out and no aircraft has been reported missing."

Coastguard and lifeboat teams were sent to look for the unknown aircraft between Northern Ireland and the south west of the Isle of Man at around 10am.

Two RNLI boats from Newcastle in Northern Ireland and Port St Mary in the Isle of Man were involved in the search, along with two Coastguard rescue teams and the Irish Coastguard search and rescue helicopter.

Ryan Gray, senior maritime operations officer at the UK Coastguard, said merchant ships in the area had also been told to look out for the possible aircraft.

A Coastguard spokeswoman said: "An area around the south-west of the Isle of Man has been extensively searched by lifeboats, a search and rescue helicopter and Coastguard Rescue Teams, with nothing found.

"No aircraft has been reported missing and the incident will now be handed over to Air Traffic Control."

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