A SEARCH and rescue operation is currently underway over the Irish Sea after a helicopter bound for Ireland went missing, the UK Coastguard has confirmed.
Earlier this afternoon radar contact was lost with the privately-owned twin squirrel red helicopter, which had five people on board.
The helicopter is believed to have left Milton Keynes earlier today on route to Dublin, via Caernarfon Bay in Wales.
A search operation began at 4.15pm and has now moved to the Irish Sea.
Vessels passing through the route have been asked to contact the coastguard if they have seen anything.
UK Coastguard Duty Commander Peter Davies said: "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 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."