Missing pilot named after debris found in plane search

Family photo (North Wales Police)

A former Bangor University lecturer has been named as the missing pilot in the search for a light plane which disappeared off the Anglesey coast.

The light aircraft, piloted by Professor David Last, lost radar contact at around 12.45pm on Monday lunchtime (25th November). It was en-route from Caernarfon Airport to the Great Orme in Llandudno and was due to make a return flight.

The Coastguard has confirmed debris was found on Monday but nothing else has been discovered during the second day of their search and rescue operation.

It has now been suspended for the night due to poor weather conditions.

In a brief statement released via police on Tuesday, Mr Last’s family said: ”He was an experienced, instrument-rated pilot. Most importantly to us, he was head of the family: a much loved father, husband, brother, grandfather, uncle and friend, and we are all heartbroken.”

”We would appreciate respect for our privacy during this difficult time.”

Mr Last (79), a professor-emeritus at Bangor University, was also a former president of the Royal Institute of Navigation and an expert witness and consultant, specialising in radio navigation and communications systems.

A police spokeperson said his family are being supported by specialist liaison officers.

Bangor University said it was ”shocked and saddened” and that Mr Last would be ”sadly missed by all his friends and former colleagues”.

The Coastguard said: ”Debris was found yesterday and this is what the search rescue pattern was based on. The debris that was able to be safely recovered by lifeboats, was retrieved and handed to Air Accidents Investigation Branch.”

During the second day of the search, five coastguard teams have concentrated their efforts on two areas – from Conwy to Bangor and from Beaumaris to Llaneilian.

Crews from Bangor, Cemaes, Llandudno, Moelfre and Penmon have been involved along with a fixed-wing coastguard helicopter, North Wales Police, and the Bangor University research ship Prince Madog.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has sent a team to the area to investigate what happened.

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