Published:
November 10, 2017
'Thoughtless' firing of distress flare causes call-out of six rescue crews

Four lifeboats, a Coastguard helicopter and a team of Coastguards were called out on Thursday evening (November 9th) after a red distress flare was fired.

Amid concern that someone was in distress at sea, Coastguards asked for the launch of both Burnham RNLI's lifeboats plus two others from Barry Dock and Penarth.

The Coastguard helicopter also carried out a thorough search of the water west of Stert Island using its spotlights and infra-red cameras.

The Burnham Coastguard team also travelled along the coastline to Berrow and Brean.

It comes after several calls from around the Bristol Channel, including Cardiff Airport, regarding the sighting of the distress flare.

Whilst several of Coastguard officers were on the seafront they made some enquiries to see if anyone had spotted it.

"We got information that one of the BARB hovercraft team had also spotted it and had filmed it on his camera phone," said a Coastguard spokesperson, as pictured here on the right.

"Our Station Officer was sent the video and while watching it he recognised one of the distinctive buildings."

"He then set about using Google Street View to find the building, and once he had established this he was then able to work out that the flare had actually been fired inland."

"The time of the video was cross referenced by Milford Haven with their reports and using the information we had given them managed to plot the sightings they had seen and match them all together."

"Once this had been done the search was able to be halted and all units stood down. Thankfully there was no one in danger on this occasion but this also means that this was a thoughtless use of a vital piece of safety equipment."

"Distress flares are not fireworks and in this case led to the calling out of four lifeboats, a helicopter and a Coastguard Team."

"Without the information and the sharp local knowledge of our Station Officer the search would've had to continue until daylight and possibly beyond."

"Please do not misuse marine pyrotechnics, they are not for display purposes and can result in valuable resources being diverted from other emergencies."

"If you are ever in danger or difficulty along the coast should Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguards."

 


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