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Sunderland RNLI recover two large Remote control Planes during search off Seaham

Lifeboats News Release

This afternoon volunteers from Sunderland RNLI lifeboat station recovered two large remote controlled aeroplanes during a sea search off Seaham Hall.

Two Remote Controlled Aeroplanes recovered by RNLI during search

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Two Remote Controlled Aeroplanes recovered by RNLI during search

The rescue mission was launched at 2:45pm this afternoon (20 April) when Coastguard Officers based at Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre received an emergency call from a member of the public reporting the sighting of an orange flashing object in the sea about half a mile offshore.

Initially Coastguard Officers from Seaham Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked to meet the first informant and confirm the location and description of the potential object.

Coastguards also contacted Sunderland RNLI to request the launch of their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat.

The lifeboat launched 10 minutes later crewed by Luke McGill along with another three volunteer crew.

With assistance from Coastguard Officers the RNLI volunteers quickly located two objects which both turned out to be large remote controlled aeroplanes.

Luke McGill, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said: ‘Thankfully the Coastguard Officers from Seaham were able to get some really good information from the first informant which allowed us to quickly locate the two aeroplanes.’

Once satisfied that the reporting sighting was one of the aeroplanes; the Coastguard released the lifeboat from the search allowing the volunteers to return to Sunderland.

Luke added: ‘We are extremely grateful to the member of the public who reported the initial sighting as the information they provided allowed us to quickly locate the two aeroplanes. Although on this occasions the sighting turned out to be a remote controlled plane; it could have very easily been a person in difficulty’.

The two aeroplanes have been returned to the lifeboat station at Sunderland and if anyone wishes to collect them; please contact the station on or 0191 567 3536.

As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.


Notes to editors

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is the oldest continually operation lifeboat in the United Kingdom. It was originally opened in 1800 before being adopted by the RNLI in 1865.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates its own website where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station has a profile on Twitter (SunderlandRNLI) and Facebook (RNLI Sunderland) where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities and news.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates two inshore type lifeboats: An Atlantic 85 8.3m inflatable capable of 35 knots and a D Class (IB-1) 4.5m inflatable capable of 25 knots.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone:

Paul Nicholson, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07957 494 077 or email - or

Andy McGill, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer (Deputy) on 07980 089 622 or email -

As an alternative please contact RNLI Headquarters Public Relations on 01202 336000.

Two Remote Controlled Aeroplanes recovered by RNLI during search

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Two Remote Controlled Aeroplanes recovered by RNLI during search

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland