Fuel and debris have been found in the search for a plane that went missing off the coast of Blackpool this morning.
The discovery was made by rescue crews scouring a 45 square mile area of the Irish Sea, The Gazette understands.
The debris was collected by one of several RNLI boats and was taken back to shore for examination as the search came to an end for the evening.
Senior coastal operations officer for the UK Coastguard service, Adam Bradbury, said: "All I can say is there have been some objects recovered but we don't know where they are from yet. It's too early."
The light aircraft was on its way to Blackpool Airport from the Isle of Man when it lost contact with air traffic controllers and vanished from radar shortly after 9am.
The pilot was the only person on board.
Duty controller Matthew Mace added: "We have used all the means and assets available to search an extensive area off the Blackpool coast. We have suspended today’s search due to failing light and we will review overnight what searches will be conducted tomorrow."
An earlier search along the coastline found no sign of the downed aircraft, sparking fears the plane had 'ditched' into the sea in poor weather conditions.
The multi-agency response included volunteer RNLI crews from St Annes, Blackpool, Fleetwood, and Southport, two search and rescue helicopters, including one from Wales, and an on-shore team of experts.
The Lancashire Fire and Rescue service and police were also involved in a search of sand dunes close to Blackpool Airport at Starr Gate.