After spotting a life raft drifting off the coast, a concerned member of the public did the right thing by calling 999 and asking for the coastguard.
The life raft in question was a large 24-man inflatable life raft that would normally only ever be deployed if, for example, a large vessel had cause to abandon ship.
The Coastguard paged the volunteer lifeboat crew based at Penlee in order to locate the drifting life raft in case it was full
Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm after patrol vessel HMS Mersey had reported to the Coastguard that one of its life rafts was missing.
The life raft was retrieved by the volunteer crew and is in the process of being collected by the Royal Navy.
Had the life raft not of been found, then chances are that it could have been spotted by merchant shipping further off the coast as it floated out to see which may have led to a further mobilisation of search and rescue personnel.
A post on the Penlee Lifeboat Facebook page said:
‘At 2.15pm this afternoon (8th Feb) the all-weather lifeboat ‘Ivan Ellen’ and her volunteer crew launched on service from Newlyn.
‘A third party report had been received from a member of the public, who was walking on the coast path near
‘Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre tasked the lifeboat to launch immediately and conduct a search of the area in question.
‘The Ivan Ellen quickly located a 24 man fully equipped life raft 2.5 nautical miles SE of Newlyn. It was full of water which made recovery quite difficult.
‘The life raft was identified as coming from HMS Mersey. They had previously reported its loss to the Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre.
‘HMS Mersey is the youngest of the original batch of
‘The life raft will be collected by the Royal Navy early next week.
Weather – Stormy with squally showers, SW Force 7-8, rough sea.
‘Crew – Coxswain Patch Harvey, Mechanic Tony Rendle, Marcel Le Bretton, Jack Shannon, Andrew Stevens, Amy Smith & Will Treneer.’
The only question is whether or not a ‘cake fine’ applies to the crew of HMS Mersey?
If ever you spot what you believe to be a life raft drifting on the sea, then always call 999 and ask for the coastguard as the life raft could contain individuals who are in need of help.
Thankfully, this sighting proved to be a false alarm and the life raft was quickly located by the Penlee Lifeboat volunteer crew.
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