COUNTY NEWS: Body of missing pilot and aircraft found off Sussex coast

Simon Wells went missing when the light aircraft he was piloting ditched into the sea off Winchelsea Beach.
Simon Wells went missing when the light aircraft he was piloting ditched into the sea off Winchelsea Beach.

The body of a missing pilot and his aircraft, which crashed into the sea off Sussex, have been recovered, it has been announced today (Wednesday, August 17).

The aircraft was located on the sea floor last Wednesday (August 10).

A complex operation was needed, with the assistance of specialist MoD marine staff, to recover it safely, and this was done on Sunday (August 14).

Sussex Police said today the aircraft, found off Winchelsea Beach, was largely intact and the body of the pilot, Simon Wells, 44, of Dunes Road, Greatstone, Kent, was found inside.

The aircraft was taken to the shore at Newhaven and is now the responsibility of the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), which is investigating the cause of the crash.

The body of Mr Wells was also taken ashore at Rye and a postmortem was carried out today at the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards.

The cause of death was not established and further tests will be carried out, but the death is still not being treated as suspicious, Sussex Police has said.

An inquest is expected to be formally opened and adjourned in the next few days and the coroner’s officer will be continuing enquiries.

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