2009 Incident #51 26.12.09 1719UTC #6072

December 28, 2009

The IRT was tasked to investigate a report from a member of public that a red distress flare had been seen in the night sky to the east of Charmouth.  Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 106 was tasked to search the immediate vicinity and further into the bay.  During the initial helicopter search pattern, the IRT saw a Chinese lantern set off from the beach.  A family was located on the beach launching Chinese lanterns albeit that their account did not explain the initial ‘flare’ sighting.  A more detailed search of the beach was then carried out.  The coast path and the nearby cliff top were searched for people letting off fireworks.  Nothing was found.  On returning to Lyme, several of these Chinese lanterns were seen drifting 100m up on the wind towards the southeast i.e. Charmouth.  After three hours of searching, the rescue services have assumed that the original ‘flare’ sighting was one of these Chinese lanterns.

The public are being urged to inform the Coastguard if using these lanterns near the coast.  Considered to be good luck in the Far East, the lanterns have only brought problems for the UK Coastguard. When lit they can soar to over a mile in the sky. Visible for up to 20 minutes on a clear night, the lanterns are increasingly mistaken for marine distress signals, as in this case.   The coastguard has to investigate a report of a red flare being deployed.  Rescue workers have to drop everything and incidents such as this are taking up valuable resources.  The biggest concern is that a genuine distress flare might get ignored, unreported and un investigated.


2009 Incident #50 19.12.09 1015UTC #5XXX

December 20, 2009

The IRT was tasked to investigate a report from a member of public that a marine flare had been sighted on Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis.  Following detailed discussions with army ordinance experts, it was established that the unit was safe and could was passed to the local authority to dispose of.

2009 Incident #49 15.12.09 1735UTC #5968

December 19, 2009

The IRT was mobilised to commence a possible marine search and rescue operation.  Two kayakers, a 28-year-old male and a 15 year old had failed to arrive at an agreed rendezvous point.  They had set out to paddle east from Lyme Regis to West Bay.  This passage was against the incoming tide and the prevailing wind direction.  The weather conditions were extremely cold, with heavy rain and poor visibility.  Fortunately, the West Bay coastguard team quickly located the paddlers safe and well.  They were close to the slipway at West Bay.  The pair had lifejackets but no means of communications.

2009 Incident #48 16.11.09 1400UTC #5596

November 15, 2009

The IRT was tasked to investigate a report from a member of public that a number of gas cannisters were floating in the surf at Charmouth.  This followed the violent storms that raged across the southwest this weekend.  The canisters were located and passed to the local authority to make safe.

2009 Incident #47 05.11.09 0718UTC #5440

November 5, 2009

The whole Coastguard team was tasked to search for a 64 yr old woman who had gone missing from her home in Lyme Regis.  She had last been seen by her husband the previous night but was absent in the morning.  Together with the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB), the immediate cliffs and beaches were searched whilst the police made enquiries closer to home.  The distressed lady was found safe and well, at a friend’s house, after two hours of searching.

2009 Incident #46 01.11.09 2052UTC #5401

November 2, 2009

The IRT was tasked to investigate a report from a concerned member of public who had seen torches on the beach 1.5km east of Charmouth.  The torches appeared to be being shone erratically over the beach and cliffs.  Three local fossil hunters were found .  Looking for belemnights!!

2009 Incident #45 11.10.09 1634BST #5113

October 12, 2009

The full coastguard rescue team was launched to assist a family of four who had been struck by a rock fall about 1500 metres east of Charmouth.  The mother of two young daughters was the most seriously injured with a suspected broken hip.  She was also drifting in and out of consciousness.  The father had sustained a severe wound to the head but fortunately it appeared to have only been ‘glanced’ by the falling rocks and not a direct hit.  Both young daughters were in deep shock and had pains in their shoulders and lower back.  After paramedics stabilised the female casualty, Devon Air Ambulance ‘medivacced’ (airlifted) her on a spinal board, straight to A&E in Dorchester.  The father and two daughters were taken by the Coastguard Rescue helicopter to Dorchester Hospital as well.  This was a very traumatic afternoon for this family and we hope that they all make a speedy recovery

Please remember the best fossils are always found on the beach and stay away from the cliffs and landslides.