Author: Vivian Bailey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
The volunteer crew of RNLI Loch Ness were paged on Saturday evening to launch the RNLI Lifeboat, Thelma Glossop to assist in a search of the Urquhart Bay area following three reports of a flare being sighted over the area.
RNLI volunteer crew of Helm Martin Douglas, and Crew Members Ian Putnam and Vivian Bailey searched the bay before extending the search out into Loch Ness.
Despite the darkness, weather conditions for the search were good, and the crew were able to use searchlights and a night vision scope to conduct a thorough search of the area.
While the lifeboat and crew searched the water, Inverness Coastguard searched the shoreline of Urquhart Bay, with both teams co-ordinated by Aberdeen Coastguard.
After an hour of searching both with nothing found, the Coastguard and RNLI volunteers were stood down after further enquiries had been made by HM Coastguard.
Crew member Ian Putnam said: ‘We take reports of flare sightings very seriously, and several crew members turned up to assist with the launch and shoreline search.’
This was the first shout of 2012 for RNLI Loch Ness, and also the first time that volunteers had worn the new RNLI Lifejackets on service.
Even in the depths of winter and on bitterly cold evenings, RNLI Loch Ness volunteers train and are ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (366 this year!) to answer their pagers and assist those in distress on the loch.