Rescuers search Rye Bay after aircraft concerns

Coastguard helicopter
Coastguard helicopter

Coastguard and lifeboat crews launched a search of Rye Bay last night (Monday) after a report of a pilot in distress.

Coastguard were called to the scene at around 8.35pm after a member of the public spotted a small aircraft which appeared to be in trouble.

A MCA spokesman said the member of the public did not see the aircraft ditch into the sea but that looked to be in distress. The member of the public was also unsure whether the aircraft was a hand-glider, a microlite or another similar craft, the MCA spokesman said.

The Rye Bay coastguard and RNLI crews were called to the scene shortly afterwards to begin searching for signs of a crash. They were joined by the coastguard helicopter from Lydd Airport, which aided with an infra-red sweep of the area.

During the search other members of the public contacted the coastguard to say they had seen a microlite complete a flyover of the bay.

Despite a thorough search, no signs of the aircraft or pilot could be found and the search of the area was called off shortly after 10pm.

The MCA spokesman said: "The member of the public did exactly the right thing by calling us. Even though he was not 100 per cent sure, it was right to call us to report his concerns."