A major search is continuing in Caernafon Bay for a missing helicopter with five people on board.
The privately-owned red Twin Squirrel helicopter was en-route from Milton Keynes to Dublin when radar contact was lost at 4.15pm on Wednesday afternoon.
An aerial search involving two UK Coastguard helicopters took place between the North West Wales coast and the shores of Dublin – but it was later called off because of poor visibility and low lying cloud.
The search has now been confined to land. North Wales Police have taken over the search operation with seven mountain rescue teams and a dog unit carrying out searches in Snowdonia with weather conditions improving.
The Irish Independent reported the five people on board were due to land at Weston Airport near the village of Lucan, south of the Irish capital.
Superintendent Gareth Davies said: ”All available police, mountain mescue and other civilian resources are currently being utilised and we are grateful for the assistance and cooperation of the public as well as our MRT volunteers who are searching very difficult and challenging terrain.”
”Five people are believed to be on board this ‘private’ flight and specialist police family liaison officers are in contact with family members. At this stage we are not revealing their names and our thoughts are very much with their families at this difficult time.”
No mayday or distress call was received from the aircraft – although a mayday relay call was sent out to all vessels in the Irish Sea.
Earlier, duty commander Peter Davies said: ”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.”
The two helicopters involved in the aerial search on Wednesday – based at Caernarfon and at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan – were recalled when the weather hampered their efforts. It’s understood had visibility was as low as 10ft in some places, although the situation had improved by Thursday morning.