Hoax call in Wales leads to major search and rescue

A search and rescue operation was called off yesterday evening after an emergency call was traced to a mobile phone ashore

A search and rescue operation in Wales was called off yesterday after an emergency call was traced to a mobile phone ashore.

Shortly before 4pm yesterday Milford Haven Coastguard was alerted to a suspected search and rescue situation, after the ambulance service received a 999 call from a young person reporting that they were on board a small vessel in difficulty between Newport Bay in Pembrokeshire and the Cardigan Estuary.

When the emergency services were unable to reach the caller to get more information several search resources were launched, including coastguard rescue teams from Moylgrove and Penrhyn, RNLI lifeboats from Cardigan and Fishguard and an RAF rescue helicopter.

After two hours the original call was located to a mobile phone on land in the Fishguard area. It was soon designated a hoax call and the search was called off.

Barry Skidmore, Milford Haven Watch Manager, said, “Making hoax calls is a criminal offence, and one that not only wastes the time of rescue teams sent to their aide, but also wastes taxpayers money whilst these resources are out searching.

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“If there had been a genuine incident whilst all of these resources were out searching for a sinking vessel that did not exist, these resources might not have been able to respond as quickly, and people’s safety could have been compromised.”