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Poor visibility hampers search for missing helicopter with five people on board in Caernarfon Bay area

Credit: ITV Wales

A search is underway for a missing helicopter with five people on board in the Caernarfon Bay area.

Air traffic control lost contact with the red twin engined squirrel chopper this afternoon as it travelled from Milton Keynes to Dublin.

Two Welsh search and rescue helicopters are currently combing the sea.

The UK Coastguard said poor weather conditions are hampering the search and the rescue helicopters have now returned to their respective bases.

They said there are no plans to continue the aerial search unless the weather improves significantly.

North Wales Police and mountain rescue teams have taken over the search and rescue operation to continue the land based search in the Snowdonia area.

They were notified at 4.15pm to start an operation.

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.

– UK Coastguard Spokesperson

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.

– Peter Davies, UK Coastguard Duty Commander

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