Plane crash pilot missing at sea


Just after 5pm on Saturday (August 6) Police 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. Coastguard helicopters and RNLI boats searched the area, but nobody was found.
Piper Cherokee aircraft similar to the one that ditched
Piper Cherokee aircraft similar to the one that ditched
The Cherokee aircraft came from a local Aero Club based at Lydd Airport in Kent, and the 44-year man flying it, who is also from Kent, was the sole occupant. The missing pilot was later named by his family as Simon Wells from Greatstone. Some wreckage which is believed to be from the aircraft has been found by the Coastguard and has been removed to a secure location for examination by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) who are leading the investigation and liaising with the Coastguard.
Meanwhile Sussex Police will continue to support this investigation by monitoring the shoreline for signs of anything that has come from the aircraft. On Sunday (August 7) the police used a Sussex Police Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or “drone” to help do this.  They will also liaise with HM Coroner for East Sussex to report any information about any recovery of a body, with a view to a post-mortem and inquest in due course. Anyone who saw what happened, or who sees anything washed ashore over the coming days which may from the aircraft, is asked to contact Sussex Police on or call 101 quoting Operation Ascot.

Source: Sussex Police





Photos: Anthony Wells and library

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