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Macduff lifeboat launches after mayday call sparks major search operation

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew from Macduff lifeboat were requested to launch last night after HM Coastguard and several fishing vessels picked up a spoken mayday call on VHF channel 16 in the Moray Firth off Macduff.

Orange lifeboat B 804 with four crew on board

RNLI/Mike Rawlins

B-804 Lydia Macdonald leaving Macduff Harbour
The four man crew of B-804 Lydia Macdonald launched just after 6 pm and were tasked with searching the inshore coastal area around Tarlair in response to the spoken mayday call.

The mayday call stated that there were three persons onboard a vessel and they were abandoning ship. No further transmissions were received for the duration of the search.

Lifeboats from Buckie and Fraserburgh were also launched to join in with the search along with the HM Coastguard helicopter Rescue 951 from Inverness and local Coastguard Coastal Rescue Teams.

Buckie and Fraserburgh lifeboats performed a costal search from their respective stations as they made their way to the main search area off Macduff.

An extensive search of the area from Troop Head to Portsoy was carried out by the three lifeboats who were assisted by two fishing vessels the Sardonyx and Fisher Boys. The search began inshore and finished roughly 6.5 nautical miles out.

The search was suspended at around 10:30 pm with all boats stood down to return to station.

Macduff Lifeboat Operations Manager, Roy Morrison said: ‘this is an extremely worrying situation, we have not been able to find any evidence of a vessel that has sunk or any of the reported three people.’

Chassey Findlay, Macduff Coxswain, who took the helm of the Macduff lifeboat for the search said: ‘Visibility was good during the search and the sea state was moderate, so if there was anything to be found by the lifeboats, HM Coastguard or the search and rescue helicopter I am confident that it would have been spotted.

Chassey continued: ’I would like to thank the skippers and crews of Sardonyx and Fisher Boys who came to assist during the search. The crews of these fishing vessels put their trips on hold to help with the search and this goes to show what a strong bond there is within the fishing communities along the North East coast.’

Roy Morrison added: ‘obviously with nothing being found during the search we are still concerned that a vessel may have been in trouble and would like to bring this to a conclusion. I would urge anyone who saw anything last night or if anyone has any additional information to call Aberdeen Coastguard.

‘If something is spotted or it is an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, or if you have further information on last nights events you can call Aberdeen Coastguard on 01224 592334.’

Lydia Macdonald was washed, refueled and returned to service at 11:35 pm.

Notes for editors

  • RNLI Macduff lifeboat Lydia Macdonald is a B class Atlantic 85 which carries 4 crew.
  • Lydia Macdonald is unique within the RNLI being the only lifeboat that is launched from a mobile crane. This method of launch allows the lifeboat to be launched from other locations should the need arise.

RNLI media contacts:

Mike Rawlins, Macduff RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07720 288366 mike_rawlins@rnli.org.uk

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Officer Scotland, 01738 642956, 07826 900639 gemma_mcdonald@rnli.org.uk

Henry Weaver, Regional Media Manager Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, henry_weaver@rnli.org.uk

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

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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 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.

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