Littlehampton and Selsey lifeboats joined forces with a coastguard helicopter on a false alarm to search for a windsurfer reported missing just off the coast at Felpham yesterday (Thursday July 28).
The police received a telephone call from a member of the public at 6.55pm to say a windsurfer was missing off Bognor Regis and contacted the coastguard, who then requested assistance from Littlehampton RNLI.
Littlehampton RNLI’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Renée Sherman and volunteer crew were already out at sea undergoing training exercises.
The lifeboat headed out to an updated location near Felpham, one mile from the original position.
At 7.25pm, helmsman Andy Harris requested further assistance and Selsey RNLI launched their Tamar Class all-weather lifeboat Voluntary Worker and extended the search area to one mile off shore.
At 8.02pm Selsey RNLI launched their D Class inshore lifeboat Betty and Thomas Moore to search nearer the shoreline between Bognor and Selsey.
At the same time Littlehampton RNLI’s D Class lifeboat Ray of Hope and volunteer crew launched to carry out a search along the shore line between Littlehampton and Bognor, followed by a second search 100 metres from the shore back towards Littlehampton.
A coastguard helicopter arrived at the scene at 8.58pm to help with the search.
Following contact between the agencies involved it was established that the searches had revealed that the report of a windsurfer missing in the sea was not verified.
Therefore, all units were stood down and returned to their respective stations.
A spokesman for the RNLI commented: “Although the mission turned out to be a false alarm with good intent, it was also a great display of joint working between Littlehampton and Selsey RNLI crews, coastguard search teams on the ground and the coastguard helicopter crew.”
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