THE SEARCH for a Shanklin woman who has been missing since yesterday afternoon continues this evening.

Charlotte Alder, also known as Charlotte Burch, went missing from St Mary's Hospital yesterday (Wednesday) before being discharged.

Ms Alder's cousin, Valerie Alder, said: "The response to my cousin's missing status has been incredibly overwhelming.

"So many friends and strangers across the Island are searching for her still."

The 44 year old has severe epilepsy and is thought to be without a phone, money or medication. She left the site wearing a black speckled cardigan, a pink top and green trousers and black boots with a fur trim.

A search and rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard carried out a sweep of the Newport area at around 4am this morning (Thursday), and the Isle of Wight's volunteer search and rescue team, Wight SAR, have been deployed alongside police officers since.

This afternoon, the National Police Air Service confirmed one of their helicopters flew over Newport town centre, the harbour and the Medina River at about 2pm and members of Wight SAR searched the hospital grounds.

In an appeal to the public, the police said: "She is described as being white, 5ft 6ins tall, of a slim build with shoulder length brown hair and wears glasses.

"We've had quite a few sightings of her reported on a path between Matalan, Shide and Arreton. Have you seen her and know where she was heading?"

Anyone with information should contact the police on 101, quoting reference number 44190010676.

UPDATE 8PM: Isle of Wight Police have confirmed they are continuing the search this evening.

Another sighting has been reported in Rookely between 7.15pm and 8.15pm last night.