Lifeboat crews search for possible missing aircraft in Morecambe Bay

The Morecambe Lifeboat.
The Morecambe Lifeboat.

Lifeboat crews were launched in Morecambe Bay to look for an aircraft which may have ditched in the sea.

Volunteer crews from Morecambe and Barrow were launched at 3pm on Monday after an emergency distress beacon was activated somewhere in the bay.

Crew members had arrived at the station and were being briefed when a message cancelling the launch was received from the Coastguard.

Colin Midwinter from Morecambe lifeboat station said: “The aircraft was on the ground near Flookburgh but due to a fault in the electrical system, its locating beacon was set off.

“Morecambe lifeboat was launched to search for the aircraft but the search was called off and the crew were stood down as soon as it was determined it was a false alarm.”

John Falvey, Operations Manager at Barrow RNLI said: “ An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency.

“It does this by transmitting a coded message on the distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue co-ordination centre, in our case to Holyhead Coastguard. The EPIRB’s can be activated manually or automatically.

“Having received an emergency signal the Coastguard then requested ourselves and Morecambe station to launch and use the detection finder equipment on board our vessels to obtain a bearing on the EPIRB emitting the signal.

“In this case the signal was caused by an accidental activation of the EPIRB aboard an aircraft which was not airborne at the time, so thankfully everyone is safe and we put it down as a false alarm with good intent.”