Huge search underway in Port Stephens after a helicopter went missing off Anna Bay, north of Newcastle

Authorities are investigating reports a private helicopter has crashed in waters off Anna Bay after going missing from Williamtown Airport's flight radar early on Friday night.

NSW Police were advised at about 6.30pm that an aircraft had "faded off the radar" near Anna Bay, a police media spokeswoman said.

Officers from Port Stephens Police District and the Marine Area Command, along with Marine Rescue and other aerial support, are conducting a large scale search of the area.

The spokeswoman could not confirm what type of aircraft was involved, or where it had come from, but the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has since confirmed it was a private helicopter.

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SEARCH AND RESCUE: The AMSA aircraft is in the area.

SEARCH AND RESCUE: The AMSA aircraft is in the area.

The NSW Incident Alerts page on Facebook said debris had "been spotted by Marine Rescue crews during the search". That information is yet to be confirmed.