Rescue – Tuesday 15 May 2018

A red distress flare fired from inland sparked a full-scale sea and shoreline search as darkness fell on Tuesday 15 May 2018.

Coastguard Rescue Teams and both Redcar RNLI lifeboats were tasked to search an area of coastline between Marske, near Redcar, and Skinningrove after a police officer reported the sighting of the flare while out on patrol. The line of sight of the flare suggested it could have been fired from the sea.

After the lifeboats had launched a message was posted on the Redcar RNLI social media pages asking for any further information regarding the sighting. A member of the public responded to the message and contacted UK Coastguard and admitted to firing the flare inland at Brotton, near Saltburn, to dispose of it because it was out-of-date and faulty.

The search teams were then stood down.

Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar RNLI said: ‘It is never acceptable to fire a distress flare in any other circumstances except an emergency at sea. In fact it is illegal.

‘And it is certainly very dangerous to the user to fire an out-of-date, faulty or damaged flare.

‘Nearly two dozen lifeboat and coastguard personnel were involved in the search, some checking along the cliff tops in darkness.’

Advice on the proper disposal of distress flares can be found on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.