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Investigation launched into "regrettable" hoax Coastguard call off Cork coast

No vessel was discovered after an extensive search of the coastline.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated 11.20am

AN INVESTIGATION IS under way after a distress call off the Cork coast, which led to a large-scale six-hour rescue operation, was declared a hoax.

No vessel was found after the major search effort off Cork harbour.

“This was a very regrettable incident that has the potential to conflict other emergencies that might arise,” a Coastguard spokesman told TheJournal.ie.

We will be making our own inquiries locally into how this came to happen.

The operation got underway yesterday morning at 9.25am when the Valentia Coastguard was called with a report of a boat in trouble.

Contact was received over VHF radio that a 32-foot yacht called ‘Bluebird’ was experiencing engine trouble and sinking around one mile south of Roche’s Point.

In response to this, the Coast Guard sent out three boats and two rescue helicopters, accompanied by naval boats and a number of local vessels.

The search continued for six hours, concluding at around 3pm.

An area stretching from Waterford down to Galley Head in Cork was searched, with a 6 km square area near to where the yacht was believed to be covered.

A hoax call to the service over VHF radio would be considered unusual.

As part of an effort to determine the source of the call, owners of boats named ‘Bluebird’ around Ireland have been contacted.

The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been involved in the effort, and is checking with ‘Bluebird’ boat owners in the United Kingdom.

No further search is taking place at this time, although a warning has gone out to boats in the area to alert the Coastguard if they spot anything in the area.

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

Originally published 17.52, 18 October 2015

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