Search for plane couple resumes

The PSNI is today taking the lead in the search for two people whose microlight was found at sea off the north coast.

Saturday, 11th June 2016, 10:11 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 1:19 pm
The Irish coastguard is assisting in the search.

The microlight was one of two to take off from City of Derry Airport for Scotland on Thursday evening but while one aircraft landed safely, the second failed to arrive.

Two people were aboard the missing aircraft, although the authorities have not disclosed any details about them at this stage.

Debris from the missing aircraft was found yesterday by a Dublin couple off the coast of Glenarm, after they arrived from Scotland.

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The Irish coastguard is assisting in the search.

Their yacht, which had responded to the Mayday relay broadcast and joined the search efforts, located the debris north of Glenarm.

Coastguard Maritime Operations Officer Jake Hill told the News Letter last night: “The search was terminated tonight about 6.30pm and has now been handed over to the PSNI.”

Asked if the search would resume this morning, he replied that they might not be involved any further unless there is a find of pollution or other items of debris relating to the aircraft.

Police issued a statement last night, confirming that they were now offering support to the families of those missing.

The Irish coastguard is assisting in the search.

Inspector Michael McDonnell of Ballycastle Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Our thoughts are with the families of those involved. Specialist officers are providing support to the families at this very difficult time.

“The PSNI will continue to assist in this search operation and we will investigate this incident in partnership with other agencies.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have any information which could help in any way to contact police on the non-emergency number 101.”

Wreckage from the missing microlight began to be brought ashore yesterday evening around tea time.

The tail fin was the first piece of the aircraft to have been spotted in the water, although other parts of the microlight that were located were later brought ashore by rescuers.

At around 8.30pm on Thursday night 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 Derry Journal reported.

The microlight was travelling along the Northern Ireland coastline when it went missing.

On Thursday night and in the early hours of yesterday morning, the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick, the Irish Coastguard helicopter based at Dublin and north coast Coastguard and RNLI teams were all involved in the search.