Marine emergency was caused by moth survey
OBAN and Campbeltown Coastguards, Campbeltown lifeboat and a rescue helicopter were scrambled in the early hours of on Tuesday … because of moths.
The emergency began at 4.30am after a small local fishing vessel reported seeing a static white light 30 metres above the cliffs at the Mull of Kintyre.
Worried that there might be someone in trouble on the cliffs, the UK Coastguard sent Oban and Campbeltown Coastguard rescue teams, Campbeltown RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick to the location.
Arriving on scene, the Campbeltown lifeboat discovered that the bright light was actually being used to attract moths to a white sheet as part of a biodiversity night survey. All the teams were stood down and returned to base.
Stephen Turner, UK Coastguard duty controller, said: ‘This is a very remote part of Scotland and the crew of the fishing vessel were right to contact us so we could investigate the source of the light. Fortunately, we were quickly able to establish that there was a biodiversity survey in the area and not a potential search and rescue.
‘It also provides us with a perfect opportunity to put out a valuable safety message to people who undertake work like this along our coastline. Using torches and static lights along the cliff coastlines can easily be misinterpreted as a call for help.
‘If you’re planning to do some surveying along the coast which might involve using a form of light, tell the Coastguard. You should also tell someone at home where you are going and when you expect to return.
‘Your shore contact can then raise the alarm if you don’t return as expected and will have all the information that rescuers need to find you.’
The Oban lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald was launched on Monday at 4.55pm to help a motor vessel with one person on board, who was reported to be in serious trouble directly under Connel Bridge.
The lifeboat arrived within 15 minutes to find the vessel’s skipper had managed to deploy his anchor in the very strong currents. The lifeboat towed the boat to safety. The skipper, who had injured his hand, was later transferred to hospital.