A huge search of the Bristol Channel was launched last night (Monday August 3rd) involving a Burnham-On-Sea RNLI lifeboat and five other lifeboats from around the channel after reports of a distress call.
A Burnham-On-Sea RNLI lifeboat called ‘Doris Day and Brian’ was launched during the search, which ultimately turned out to be a hoax call, say Coastguards.
A Burnham-On-Sea RNLI spokesman said: “We were paged at 9.30pm after the Coastguard received a Mayday distress call.”
”A search was commenced with other lifeboats and a rescue helicopter.”
At one point, lifeboats from Burnham, two from Weston, two from Penarth and Barry Dock were all searching the waters of the Bristol Channel.
“At approximately 10.15pm, the Coastguard Control stood down the search. Sadly it had been found that the alert had been delivered by a known hoax caller. The Burnham Atlantic returned to station for a very muddy wash-down by volunteer crews. With everything done crews returned to their beds around midnight.”
A Coastguard helicopter was also seen flying over the waters off Brean Down before the crews were stood down.
Head Launcher Ian Brown said: “Hoax calls put a massive drain on SAR assets from all services and commit equipment and staff that could be required elsewhere for a real emergency. Calls like this are treated very seriously by the Police. The RNLI launched six Lifeboats to this ‘Mayday’. As a charity that relies solely on donations with no government funding this was a very costly call out and put our own volunteers at risk.”
Pictured: Burnham-On-Sea RNLI lifeboat launching in the darkness (Photos: Mike Lang)