A MAJOR search and rescue operation is underway for a missing woman.

Police and Solent Coastguard searched the waters last night for Patricia Anne Tolfree who was last seen by her husband at 8.30am yesterday morning.

The 67-year-old from Totland Bay on the Isle of Wight had planned to go to the mainland to visit friends in Winchester for the day but police were alerted when she did not return home that evening or contact her family.

Patricia is white with a tanned complexion, 5ft tall with short greying brown hair. She wears glasses and was last seen wearing black trousers, an orange blouse, a black jumper and boots.

Police called Solent Coastguard to help them search for Patricia at 1.30am when her blue 57 registration Volkswagen Polo was found in a car park at Tennyson Down.

Lifeboats from the Needles, Ventnor and a rescue helicopter from Lee-on-the-Solent searched the waters from Freshwater Bay to the Needles for six and a half hours but Patricia was not found.

Police are continuing their search and are calling for anyone who believes they may have seen Patricia to contact them as soon as possible.

Anyone with any information can contact the duty sergeant at Newport police station on 101.