Two RNLI lifeboats from Clifden and a Coast Guard helicopter spent several fruitless hours on a false alarm search and rescue operation after an emergency beacon was accidentally activated.
The Clifden RNLI station launched both of their lifeboats at 9:28am on Friday after an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) was activated, indicating an emergency situation in the water west of Turbot Island.
An EPIRB is an emergency radio beacon used to indicate the position of boats and aircraft in distress for search and rescue services.
The lifeboats made their way to the scene immediately, and a Coast Guard helicopter was also tasked to the operation.
The lifeboat crews conducted a thorough search for approximately two and a half hours, but nothing was found.
During the search, information was relayed to the crews that the EPIRB may have been accidentally activated at a property on a nearby empty island.
The crew conducted a shoreline search on the island. The search was subsequently called off and the lifeboats were stood down at 12.19pm.
Speaking following the call out, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said “While we were quite concerned when the pagers went off this morning, we are glad that all is well and that no one was in danger.”
“This was a false alarm in the sense that an EPIRB was accidentally activated, but we would always much rather launch and search to ensure everything is ok, than not launch at all.”
“I would like to commend our volunteers and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard for their team work in today’s search.
“We would encourage anyone who gets into difficulty or sees someone else in trouble, to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.”
image credit: Michael Mc Laughlin