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Coastguard warn hoax calls will threaten lives

Coastguard warn hoax calls will threaten lives

Thursday 01 September 2016

Coastguard warn hoax calls will threaten lives

Thursday 01 September 2016

A large sea search for a youngster who had reportedly been swept out to sea at Bouley Bay was abandoned when rescue teams discovered the call out was actually a hoax.

At just after 15:30 yesterday afternoon, Jersey Coastguard got a 999 call from a young girl saying her friend had been swept out by the tide. The call sparked a large-scale search, involving the Coastguard, St Catherine's Lifeboat and the Fire Service inshore rescue boat, as well as islanders in the area who were out on their boats.

Shelley and Simon Du Feu cut short their family day out at the Ecrehous and raced over in their RIB to help with the search.

Mrs Du Feu said:  “My first response as a mother was, if that was my baby, I'd want everyone who could to help. We searched for over 40 mins and I knew by that time, we were likely looking for the body of a child. My hubby & I decided on an action plan should we discover the casualty (we had our own 2 children on board).

“Every time I saw a submerged buoy, I felt sick, thinking it was something. The relief to hear that it was a hoax was incredible. The anger however, at the complete disregard for the consequences of those actions is still with me."

Members of the public and businesses in the area were questioned and the police were called to find the source of the call.

At the same time Jersey Coastguard were also dealing with two other emergencies on Jersey’s South coast – a person stranded by the incoming tide and a boat broken down in the shipping lanes when commercial vessels were coming in.

The search was eventually called off when it became clear the girl's call had actually been a hoax. In a Facebook post, the Coastguard warned that hoax calls such as this are very dangerous:

"The RNLI put their lives at risk when responding to incidents as do the Fire Service when they make a blue light response with their inshore rescue craft. 

"Had any more incidents taken place at this time we would have had increased response times and would not have been able to release our assets that were searching Bouley Bay until we were 100% certain that the call was a hoax."

Mrs Du Feu said: "I feel that the youngsters responsible should be made to pay a visit to the lifeboat station, apologise in person & redeem themselves by doing some fundraising.

“We were all young & stupid once, hopefully they will learn from this. Well done to all involved, it really was quite harrowing & total respect for you doing that on a regular basis.”

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