Helicopter with 5 people on board is missing this evening. A Search is ongoing in Caernarfon Bay/Irish Sea. It is understood that the chopper a twin engine squirrel was en-route from Milton Keynes to Dublin.
It is understood that shortly after 4.15pm that the helicopter lost contact with Distress and Diversions and search was ordered
The UK Coastguard search & rescue are and have been carrying out an extensive land based search of fields and airfields within the Caernarfon area
The aircraft was last detected on radar in the Caernarfon Bay area, less than 20km off the Welsh coast.
The helicopter, which is privately-owned, is understood to have left Milton Keynes in the south of England earlier on Wednesday en route to Dublin via Caernarfon Bay.
It was due to land in Weston Airport on the Dublin/Kildare border.
The helicopter is owned by Staske Construction Ltd in Milton Keynes, which is run by Kevin and Ruth Burke, who rent it out to film crews.
It is not yet known who was on board but it is understood that the helicopter was due to land in Weston Airport on the Dublin – Kildare border.
Having searched for almost 12 hours, the sea operation was called off just before midnight on Wednesday.
UK Coastguard is currently co-ordinating a search and rescue operation for an overdue helicopter in the Caernarfon Bay area.
Earlier this afternoon, Distress and Diversion lost radar contact of the helicopter, and after contacting all airbases with no sightings or radio contact, the UK Coastguard were notified at 4.15pm to start a search operation.
The UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Caernarfon has carried out an extensive land based search of fields and airfields within the Caernarfon area and the helicopter based at St Athan has joined the search this evening. A Mayday Relay broadcast has been issued to all vessels passing through the Irish Sea route to contact the Coastguard if they have seen anything. A search of the Irish sea route is commencing this evening. The North Wales Police have also been notified of the search operation.
UK Coastguard Duty Commander Peter Davies said: ‘We have established a search plan between Caernarfon Bay and the shore of Dublin and currently have two Coastguard helicopters searching the route. We are in the process of contacting all the vessels in the Irish Sea that were in the vicinity around midday and we are continuing Mayday broadcast action for any vessels currently in the area to contact us if they have further information. At the moment we are appealing to these vessels and to the public that if they have seen a twin squirrel red helicopter to please contact 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
Update from UKCoastguard: An extensive search centered around the Irish Sea and Snowdonia area has been carried out by the two UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopters based at Caernarfon and St Athan this evening.
Due to low lying cloud, visibility has been extremely poor and has hampered the search efforts. The helicopters have now returned to their respective bases and there are no plans at this stage to continue the aerial search unless the weather improves significantly.
North Wales Police have taken over the search operation and have called in Mountain Rescue Teams to continue the land based search in the Snowdonia area.