Lifeboat crew stood down after two and a half hour search following reports of ‘distress flare’

Picture: RNLI/Ben Durrant

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch by the Coastguard today (Sunday 16th August) at 12.56 am to several reports of a distress flare being spotted at in the Portstewart Strand area.

The volunteer crew carried out a search around Portstewart and then moved further on over to the Benone area to ensure a thorough search of the area was carried out.

Sea conditions and visibility were good, as the sea was flat calm and there was a light South easterly wind, which assisted with the search.

After the area was searched and nothing found, the crew were stood down and returned to station at 3.27am.

This was a multi-agency search with the RNLI working alongside PSNI and Coastguard colleagues carrying out searches of sea and coastline.

This was also Portrush RNLI Crew member Dave Robinson’s first shout as Coxswain since passing RNLI assessments two weeks ago.

Carl Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Portrush RNLI, said: “As the RNLI will always respond to reports of a distress flare being spotted, we would ask members of the public to take care when launching any kind of light, firework, flare or Chinese lantern during the night as these can be seen as distress flares and reported as an emergency call.

“This can entail, as it did tonight, huge resources being deployed by emergency services to ensure that there was no-one in danger. Tonight this was a false alarm with good intent with no-one in danger.”

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