RNLI LIFEBOATS SEARCH DUE TO FLARE HOAXERS
The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was called out earlier tonight (23/11/04) around 9.15pm to carry out a search of the Forth between Inchkeith Island and Leith, after the Coastguard received reports from members of the public of a red distress flare having been seen in the area.
Shore Crew volunteer, Norman Soutar, who launched the lifeboat and was monitoring the radio messages said 'The lifeboat was tasked to search for a possible small craft or person in the water, and carried out a search pattern in the area. The RNLI Lifeboat from Queensferry was also tasked to assist in the search and initially carried out a search near to Granton Harbour.'
The volunteer crew of the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn, helmsman Scott Mcilravie, Darren Maddison, Neil Chalmers and Joanne Wibberly, whilst en route to their search area, reported seeing a further two distress flares having been launched about two hundred yards north of Granton and narrowed their search pattern in that area.
Both RNLI lifeboats carried out an extensive search of the area where the flares had been seen, but were unable to locate any person in need of rescue.
Norman continued, 'Unfortunately this looks like it was a cruel hoax, where the flares are now believed to have been launched from flats on the shore. I believe that a similar incident was also reported a couple of weeks ago. These people may well think that they are having a good laugh, but their stupidity could be placing people in danger. All the volunteer crews will respond to any sightings of flares, to try and save lives, but it is disheartening that despite all the warnings and advice that the RNLI have released over November 5th, that people are continuing with such behaviour.'