Search for plane in East Sussex
The search for the missing pilot of a light aircraft that went into the sea off the East Sussex coast will continue until dusk AFP/Getty

A light aircraft has crashed into the sea off East Sussex, it has been reported.The pilot is believed to be the only person on the plane as it went down off Winchelsea Beach, close to Camber Sands around 5.30pm.

A major rescue operation has been launched with two coastguard helicopters and two lifeboat crews searching for the missing pilot.

A statement from the RNLI said: "Rye Harbour and Dungeness RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch this afternoon by HM Coastguard following reports of a light aircraft which ditched into the sea off Rye Harbour. Reports indicated there was one person on board.

"Rye Harbour RNLI's inshore lifeboat launched at 5.23pm and Dungeness RNLI's all-weather lifeboat launched around five minutes later.

"Both lifeboats and their volunteer crews are conducting searches about three-quarters-of a mile offshore between Winchelsea beach and Pett Level beach.

"Also involved in the incident are Rye Harbour and Dungeness Coastguard Rescue Teams and two Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopters."

In a statement Sussex Police said: "Just after 5pm on Saturday we received a report from a member of the public that a light aircraft had been seen to go into the sea about half a mile off Winchelsea Beach.

"The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) have been informed and will be leading the investigation. The search and investigation is at an early stage and no further information is available at present."

The search is expected to continue until dusk as RNLI lifeboats from Rye Harbour and Dungeness search the sea, Daily Telegraph reports.