Burnham-on-Sea RNLI launches in Mayday search
Burnham-on-Sea RNLI volunteers were paged at 9.30pm tonight (3 August) to take part in a huge search of the Bristol channel after a Mayday distress call was received by the Coastguard and reported to be in the vicinity of Steepholme.
The inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Doris Day and Brian, was launched and proceeded to the search area. Also searching were the Barry Dock RNLI all-weather lifeboat, two lifeboats from Penarth and two Weston-Super-Mare RNLI lifeboats, plus a rescue helicopter.
Shortly after 10pm, the Coastguard stood the search down. Sadly it had been found that the alert had been delivered by a hoax caller. The lifeboat returned to station for a very muddy wash-down by volunteer crews. With everything done crews returned to their beds around midnight.
Ian Brown, Burnham-on-Sea RNLI Head Launcher said: ‘Hoax calls put a massive drain on search and rescue assets from all services and commit equipment and staff that could be required elsewhere for a real emergency. As a charity that relies solely on donations with no government funding this was a costly call out.'
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.