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Sea search for missing Blackpool-bound light aircraft suspended

The search for a missing light aircraft believed to have ditched into the sea off Blackpool has been suspended due to failing light.

A major operation was launched after contact was lost with the pilot, who was flying solo from the Isle of Man to Blackpool Airport.

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

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

Debris was found off the coast as a result of the extensive search over an area of 45 square nautical miles, said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The hunt involved UK Coastguard Rescue teams, several RNLI lifeboats, a Southport Rescue Independent lifeboat and two helicopters, one from Coastguard search and rescue based at Caernarfon and a police helicopter based at Warton.

Matthew Mace, duty controller at the UK Coastguard, said: 'We have used all the means and assets available to search an extensive area off the Blackpool coast for this missing aircraft. We have suspended today's search due to failing light and we will review overnight what searches will be conducted tomorrow."

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