Helicopter from MK loses contact with Air Traffic Control

    A Coastguard search operation is underway for a helicopter which was travelling from Milton Keynes to Dublin.

    The operation was launched after the privately owned twin squirrel red helicopter carrying five people went missing earlier this afternoon.

    The search operation - which was launched at 4.15pm after radar contact with the helicopter was lost - is being coordinated in the Caernarfon Bay area of North Wales.

    A UK Coastguard helicopter, based at Caernarfon, in Gwynedd, has been conducting searches in the area. A second search and rescue helicopter, based at St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, joined the search this evening.

    An extensive search of fields and airfields in the area has taken place. A Mayday Relay broadcast has been issued to all vessels travelling through the Irish Sea route to contact the Coastguard if they see anything. North Wales Police have 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 any 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."

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