Two still missing after microlight debris found

Portpatrick all weather lifeboat.
Portpatrick all weather lifeboat.

Debris found during a search off the coast of County Antrim is from a light aircraft that went missing on Thursday after leaving City of Derry Airport bound for Scotland.

The debris was found 1km off the coast of Northern Ireland with two people still missing as rescuers continue the search.

Lifeboat crews from Stranraer and Portpatrick are among the many crews taking part in the operation.

At about 8.30pm on Thursday 9 June Distress and Diversion (based at Swanwick) notified the UK Coastguard that a small microlight aircraft with two persons on board had been reported overdue.

The microlight was transiting the Northern Ireland coastline when it went missing and an extensive search was carried out in the area.

Last night and in the early hours of Friday morning, the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick, the Irish Coastguard helicopter based at Dublin, Ballycastle, Coleraine, Stranraer, Portpatrick, Larne and Campbeltown Coastguard Rescue Teams, Larne RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats, Red Bay inshore and all weather lifeboats and Portpatrick RNLI all weather lifeboats, were all involved in the search.

The search was suspended due to poor visibility as a result of fog at 3am on Friday 10 June. The teams and rescue units were waiting for the visibility to improve before they resumed the search on Friday.

The Northern Ireland North West Mountain Rescue Team will also be joining the search.

Ryan Gray, Senior Maritime Operations Officer at the UK Coastguard said: “UK Coastguard has also issued a Mayday relay broadcast in the area and several merchant shipping vessels have responded and are keeping a lookout for this aircraft. We may send further resources as the search widens.”

The Northern Ireland Police and Police Scotland have also been informed.