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Missing pilot named by police

Plane failed to land at Blackpool yesterday after departing Ronaldsway

The pilot of a plane that went missing en route from Ronaldsway to Blackpool has been named as 73-year-old Ian Stirling from Douglas.

Fuel and debris was found floating in the Irish Sea on Friday morning and sent for forensic analysis.

The light aircraft was due to land in Blackpool at 9.15am - but contact with the plane was lost shortly after 9am; disappearing from radar screens three miles off-shore.

Air crash investigators fear the single engine Rockwell Commander plane crashed into the Irish Sea in poor weather conditions on Thursday morning.

Mr Stirling is a businessman thought to split his time between the Isle of Man and Scotland.

In a statement, Mr Stirling's family said:

"Ian is an experienced pilot who has flown this route many times.

"We are obviously in shock at what has happened and hoping against hope that he may be found alive."

The search has now officially ended and the Coastguard has handed over to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Lancashire Police.

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