Distress Flare Sparks Night-Time Solent Search

13th December 2020

Cowes Lifeboat launching to search

A red parachute distress flare, spotted by a fisherman on the Hampshire shore, at Hill Head, resulted in an extensive two-hour land and sea search of the Solent, in pitch dark, during the early hours of this morning.

Rather unusually, the fisherman’s emergency message to Coastguards was backed up on his mobile phone with a video of the flare.

Both Cowes RNLI lifeboat and the Ryde independent lifeboat were tasked for the search, together with the Ventnor coastguard team.  

The search patterns for the two lifeboats, with Cowes on the left.

Using their powerful onboard searchlights, the two lifeboats painstakingly searched an area of the Solent between Woodside Bay, Wootton and Osborne Bay. Where there was sufficient water because of the very low tide, Ryde lifeboat also searched Wootton Creek.

Meanwhile the relevant Solent and creek shoreline was searched by the coastguard team.

Eventually the whole search was called off, with nothing found. Cowes Lifeboat, which had launched at 1.50 am, returned to station two hours later.