Pilot Simon Wells crashed off Rye Harbour coast in East Sussex on Saturday, 6 August

The police have named the pilot, whose light aircraft crashed into the sea off Rye Harbour on Saturday, as 44-year-old Simon Wells.

Wells, from Greatstone, Kent, crashed off Wincheslea Beach just after 5pm on 6 August. He is believed to have been on board of his Lightening aircraft on his own.

Coastguard helicopters and lifeboats were deployed on Saturday to look for the pilot but did not find him.

Despite a major search, no survivors were located and the Coastguard said on Sunday that the rescue operation had to be called off and it will not be resumed.

A spokeswoman said: “There was a very intensive search yesterday and there aren’t any plans to restart this morning, unless there is any further information.

“The helicopter was at the scene very quickly and if there had been anything on the surface it would have been seen.

“The aircraft and pilot weren’t above the water – there was sheen and bits of debris. It is not an active search and rescue operation now.”

Wreckage from the craft has been found washed ashore. The police is appealing for witnesses of the incident.

Anybody with information has been asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting reference 1172 of 06/08.