Major search operation for light aircraft is due to resume when visibility improves

Lifeboats in action.
Lifeboats in action.

A microlight with two people on board has gone missing on a flight from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

A major air and sea search was launched on Thursday evening when the light aircraft was reported overdue, and continued to 3am on Friday, when it was suspended due to fog.

The flight took off from the City of Derry airport and had been tracking towards Stranraer.

UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter, the Irish Coastguard helicopter, Ballycastle, Coleraine, Stranraer, Portpatrick, Larne and Campbelltown Coastguard Rescue Teams, Larne RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats, Red Bay inshore and all weather lifeboats and Portpatrick RNLI all weather lifeboats are all involved in the search.

The Northern Irish North West Mountain Rescue Team has also joined 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 Police Service of Northern Ireland and Police Scotland have also been informed.”

The search was suspended due to fog but is expected to resume later this morning (Friday), however weather conditions remain poor with heavy fog still present.

The search will resume once foggy conditions clear.

RNLI crew member Paddy McLaughlin said they are “very concerned” for the two people on board.

“Weather conditions have been calm but [it was] very cold through the night”.

He added: “The difficulty we have, because of tides in the area, is that if there are people, wreckage or aircraft the tides will bring them north and south so we have to search a very, very large area.”