County news: Aircraft crashes into the sea off Sussex coast

HM Coastguard Stock SUS-151006-161015001
HM Coastguard Stock SUS-151006-161015001

One person is missing after a light aircraft ditched into the sea off the Sussex coast this afternoon (Saturday, August 6).

A full scale search was launched for the missing plane after it came down just over half a mile off Winchelsea Beach, near Rye, after 5pm.

Eyewitness reports suggest the aircraft ‘bounced’ on the water several times before flipping over.

Originally it was feared up to four people may have been on board the aircraft.

However the RNLI later revised this figure down to just one male pilot.

Wreckage believed to be from the light aircraft has been washed ashore.

A spokesperson from Sussex Police said: “Just after 5pm on Saturday (August 6) we received a report from a member of the public that a light aircraft had been seen to go into the sea about half a mile off Winchelsea Beach.

“A Coastguard helicopter has been searching the area, and we are in contact with them.

“Initial reports suggest that the aircraft comes from a local Aero Club and that the man flying it was the sole occupant.

“Some wreckage which is believed to be from aircraft has been found washed ashore at Winchelsea Beach.

“The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) have been informed and will be leading the investigation.”

Rye Harbour RNLI’s inshore lifeboat and Dungeness RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat were conducting searches three quarters of a mile offshore between Winchelsea Beach and Pett Level beach.

Anyone who saw what happened is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 quoting Serial 1172 of 06/08.

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