Coastguards sent on wild goose chase

COASTGUARDS from the Shotley peninsula were sent on a weekend wild goose chase after fears that a vessel could be in danger.

COASTGUARDS from the Shotley peninsula were sent on a weekend wild goose chase after fears that a vessel could be in danger.

They were alerted by fears that a vessel in the Orwell had sent up a distress flare - but it turned out to be a Chinese Lantern from a firework party in Ipswich.

Now the coastguards have appealed to anyone holding a fireworks party to tell them and the police to prevent any false alarms.

A spokesman for the coastguards said: “We obviously have to investigate any reports of a flare being released - it could be anything. It is not necessarily a boat sinking, it could be a single person on a boat collapsing and managing to let off a flare in an emergency.

“Flares go up and then come down on small parachutes, so they can be easily confused with Chinese lanterns. If we know there is a party going on we can save time and worry.”

It is a legal requirement for organisers of professional firework parties to inform the police and, if appropriate, the coastguard.

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“We always have a busy time around November 5 and during the summer when you get parties outside - it would be good to be informed,” said the coastguard spokesman.

After a search of the area coastguards were satisfied that there was no emergency on Saturday night, but they had spent some time on a fruitless search beside the River Orwell.

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