Coastguard and RNLI scrambled as plane declares emergency

A small private plane that declared an emergency while flying north landed safely in Blackpool.

Thursday, 6th October 2016, 9:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:42 pm
The small private Piper Cherokee plane, pictured here at Gloucestershire Airport in December 2015 (Pic: James/Flickr)

The Piper Cherokee, was flying at 4,900 ft and 120 knots when it suddenly turned 90 degrees while flying over the Yorkshire Dales National Park shortly before 9pm yesterday.

Its pilot issued a mayday just east of Morecambe and Lancaster, before flying over the Irish Sea and down towards Blackpool Airport.

RNLI volunteers were paged, while the Coastguard at Lytham was put on standby as the Liverpool-based plane made its descent.

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It landed safely at 9.04pm, and the emergency services were stood down.

A spokeswoman for the RNLI said volunteers were scrambled after being told the plane was ‘struggling to maintain height’ and ‘experiencing difficulties’.

The Gazette called air traffic control at the airport for more information, but nobody has so far been available to comment.

The incident came almost a year after Ian Stirling died when his Rockwell Commander, now buried in sand at the bottom of the Irish Sea, crashed on its approach to Blackpool.