Anglesey missing plane: Pilot named as Prof David Last

David Last Image copyright Family photo
Image caption David Last's family described him as an "experienced pilot"

A pilot who was flying a plane which went missing off the Welsh coast has been named as 79-year-old Prof David Last.

North Wales Police said the light aircraft was flying from Caernarfon Airport to the Great Orme, Llandudno, and back on Monday when it disappeared.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been searching around Puffin Island, near Penmon, Anglesey.

The search for the plane was suspended at about 16:00 GMT on Tuesday.

No passengers were on board the plane.

Image caption Coastguard volunteers have been searching the coast at Penmon

In a statement, his family said: "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."

His family described him as an "experienced pilot and a respected figure in the worldwide navigation community".

Prof Last worked as a consultant engineer and expert witness in radio navigations and communications systems, and was also a professor emeritus at Bangor University.

Police said Prof Last's family was being supported by officers.

Image copyright Brian Nicholas
Image caption David Last was flying this Cessna Skyhawk when he disappeared

Bangor University said it was "shocked and saddened" by the news.

A statement said he would be "sadly missed by all his friends and former colleagues" at the university.

What happened?

HM Coastguard said it received a call for assistance shortly before 12:50 GMT on Monday.

A spokesman said the search was launched after a report that an aircraft had disappeared from radar contact, two miles north east of Penmon, Anglesey.

Image caption The search has focused on an area around Puffin Island, off the east coast of Anglesey

Rescue teams from Llandudno, Bangor, Penmon, Moelfre and Cemaes as well as the HM Coastguard fixed wing aircraft have searched the area, along with North Wales Police.

Bangor University's research ship Prince Madog has also assisted in the search.

Local councillor Lewis Davies said the weather conditions at the time the plane vanished were good.

"It's hard to know what happened because the weather was perfect," he said.

The search resumed on Tuesday morning near Puffin Island, off Anglesey, but was called off on Tuesday afternoon due to poor weather.

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