‘Floating debris’ sparks multi-agency search for ‘person in sea’ off Westgate

Margate RNLI Photo Frank Leppard

Margate’s RNLI volunteers joined a multi-agency search following reports of a person in the sea off Westgate-on-Sea last night (July 28).

UK Coastguard received a report from Kent Fire & Rescue around 9.30pm stating they were responding to a call following a report of a person in the sea off Sea Road, Westgate Bay. Margate coastguard rescue team (CRT) had been tasked and Margate’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was asked to assist.

After launching, coastguards re-directed the lifeboat to St Mildred’s Bay where numerous torch lights ashore were identified as fire service personnel carrying out a shore search. After liaising with fire officers, the CRT directed the lifeboat to search across the bay, checking various yellow buoys while coastguard and fire service personnel checked the esplanade and shelters away from the water.

Several large accumulations of seaweed and floating debris were identified by the lifeboat and after an extensive search of the area both ashore and afloat and with no further reports all units were stood down around an hour later, the call considered a false alarm with good intent.

Ian Lowe, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “We rely entirely on the general public to report anything or anyone that does not look right at sea or on the coastline, no call is too small or a wasted one – dial 999 and ask for coastguard.”

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