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Port Talbot RNLI were task to confirmed sighting of two red distress flares.

Lifeboats News Release

Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat D848 Craig Morris and its volunteer crew were tasked by HM Coastguard after receiving report from a first informer of two red distress flares on the Neath river.

Port Talbot RNLI launch to reports of two red flare on tropical evening

RNLI/Ceri Jeffreys

Port Talbot RNLI launch to reports of two red flare on tropical evening

On a hot, humid, windless evening, with temperatures still 20 degrees, and a half moon our volunteers were task at 9:38pm to the River Neath to complete a search up the river in the location of Briton Ferry.

Despite most people being settled in for the evening our volunteers assembled in impressive numbers speedily and professionally in order to launch the lifeboat as quickly as possible as all crew know the potential significance of a red distress flare.

Our crew under the very capable charge of helm James Jennings proceeded under direction of HM Coastguard to commence a search of the potential flare launch sites. Port Talbot Lifeboat made their way to the River from seaward, commencing a search from the Monkstone light inward up as far as the Neath Swing bridge. Further reports and shore line searches were carried out by Port Talbot and Mumbles Coastguard with nothing found.

Deputy Launch Authority Rachel Thomas, said: 'There was an excellent turn out of crew despite the tropical conditions. Our volunteer crew assembled quickly but safely, allowing for a very speedy launch. It has to be remembered the significance of the red flare which are only to be used where there is an imminent threat to life. Hence so many resources were deployed and a very thorough searched commenced covering every inch of the River Neath both banks. After a thorough search and a number of boats on the river were checked and footage from the sighting reviewed Milford Haven Coastguard stood Port Talbot Lifeboat down and the lifeboat retuned to station where it was recovered, washed down , refuelled and made ready for service.

'There is a small marina and some commercial boats in this area as well as possible other water users on what was an extremely hot night. Fortunately after a thorough search with the assistance of Mumbles and Port Talbot Coastguard no casualty was identified and crew were able to return to station and to their beds.

'Please only use flares for maritime distress and thank you to the public who reported to the coastguard the sightings this evening.

'Our volunteer crew were able to leave the station around mid night ready for a few hours of sleep before work'.

It’s takes a massive commitment from our volunteers to be ready 24/7, 365 days in all weathers to save lives at sea. The RNLI is a charity that relies largely on these volunteers and totally on charitable donations.

Port Talbot RNLI launch to reports of two red flare on tropical evening

RNLI/Ceri Jeffreys

Port Talbot RNLI launch to reports of two red flare on tropical evening

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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