The UK Coastguard has issued a stern warning about making hoax calls after rescue teams were deployed last night to search for a 70-foot yacht in the Solent
16 May 3.50pm
The UK Coastguard is warning that anyone caught making a hoax call “will be prosecuted under the full force of the law”.
It comes after a major search and rescue operation was launched in the Solent last night.
UK Coastguard received a Mayday on Channel 16 informing them that a 70-foot yacht was sinking and there were seven people on board.
Two Coastguard search and rescue helicopters, the Hill Head, Ryde Inshore Rescue and Bembridge and Needles Coastguard Rescue Teams, two Gosport Inshore Lifeboats, Calshot and Cowes RNLI inshore Lifeboats, the Hampshire Police Vessel and the Rossall Point National Coast Watch Institute all took part in the search.
It was eventually called off at around 1am.
In a statement, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We never put a price on human life. If we get a 999 call we treat it as real. We encourage people to call us if they see someone in trouble, even if they’re not sure whether they are or not.”
“Calling 999 in these cases is always the right thing to do. Search and Rescue resources will always be used rather than risk loss of life. If we think someone’s in danger or in trouble we will always search for them and rescue them if it’s needed.”
“Making deliberate, false or misleading calls is against the law and we treat it very seriously. We keep a record of these calls and hold those records as evidence for future prosecutions.”
“Have no doubt, if you make a hoax call and we catch you, you will be prosecuted under the full force of the law. Not only is it wasting the valuable time of our Coastguard officers, volunteers and resources such as the RNLI and our aircraft while searching; it also may be putting other lives at risk by diverting our resources away from genuine emergencies,” concluded the statement.
16 May 10.10am
A major search and rescue operation was launched last night (15 May) to find a 70-foot yacht taking on water in the Solent area.
A Mayday call was made on Channel 16 from the vessel at around 9.45pm.
It informed the UK Coastguard that there were seven people on board the yacht.
All were wearing lifejackets.
The Mayday all stated that the yacht’s pumps were not coping with the intake of water.
UK Coastguard initially scrambled the Hill Head Coastguard Rescue Team, two Gosport Inshore Lifeboats, Calshot and Cowes RNLI inshore Lifeboats.
The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lee Solent was also launched.
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Hampshire Police Vessel and Rossall Point National Coast Watch Institute also assisted and the South Central Ambulance Service was notified and put on standby.
The UK Coastguard also issued a Mayday relay broadcast to all vessels in the area to maintain a lookout and assist the rescue operation if necessary.
Just after midnight, the Ryde Inshore Rescue and Bembridge and Needles Coastguard Rescue Teams were also tasked, as well as a second helicopter from UK Coastguard St Athan Base.
The search concentrated on the River Medina and Solent area.
At 1am, the UK Coastguard issued a statement saying the search had been called off.
“After an extensive and thorough search of the Solent, River Medina and Southampton water, with nothing found, all search and rescue teams have been stood down,” it said.
“There are no plans to resume the search operation unless further information comes forward.”