Hoax Mayday call led to three hour search

Relief all-weather lifeboat 12-27 Pride and Spirit
Relief all-weather lifeboat 12-27 Pride and Spirit

At 9:30pm on Tuesday 6th September Girvan Lifeboat volunteer crew’s pagers were activated by Belfast Coastguard, on arrival at station the crew were still receiving updates from Belfast coastguard as to a mayday call sent out via VHF radio.

Within minutes the crew were kitted up, running along the jetty with the relief all-weather lifeboat 12-27 Pride and Spirit soon leaving her berth.

A full search commenced of the harbour area and towards the pier end and back again, further updates were received from Belfast Coastguard and the lifeboat carried out a search parallel with the shoreline north past Maidens towards Culzean.

The lifeboat scanned the coastline and area utilising the on-board search lights and illuminating rocket flares, once that stage of the search had been completed the lifeboat then commenced a search further offshore heading back towards Girvan.

A triangulation of the single mayday placed the distress call further up the coastline, Girvan coastguard rescue team conducted shoreline searches around Girvan, whilst further north Ardrossan CRT conducted shoreline searches to compliment Troon Lifeboat ongoing search.

After nearly three hours at sea with our search completed with nothing untoward found and HM coastguard continuing their investigations as to the calls origin, Girvan Lifeboat stood down and returned to station where it was washed, refuelled and made ready for service at 00:30

On completion of the search, all resources were stood down and returned to station with Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre treating the this as a hoax radio call with malicious intent, HM Coastguard want to remind the public that malicious 999 and radio calls to the emergency services is illegal and could lead to prosecution. It also risks the lives of the emergency services involved and puts the public at risk as well as rescue resources are actively engaged if a genuine emergency situation arises.