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Video: Lifeboat launches search in rough seas - but it was a hoax call

The coastguard, RNLI and two helicopters were all involved in the search off Co Down after reports that a man had entered the sea to rescue his dog.

(Video: RNLI/YouTube)

THERE HAS BEEN strong criticism of hoax callers after two lifeboats battled bad weather and rough seas to find a man reported missing – only to find out that it was a prank.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI lifeboats, and two helicopters all gathered for the search off the Co Down coast following reports that a man had entered the sea after his dog and had got into difficulty.

However the search was called off at 10.30am – after around 90 minutes – when the coast guard declared that it had been a hoax.

The incident happened around one mile north east of the Newcastle lifeboat station in Down amid extremely dangerous conditions.

Joseph McClelland of the RNLI said the hoax could have put other lives in danger.

“There was a heavy breaking surf in the area with a strong south westerly wind blowing force seven and two metre swells,” he said. “The lifeboats were on scene within minutes and the volunteer lifeboat crew searched in very challenging weather”.

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“We have since learned that the call for help was believed by the coastguard to have been a hoax and while we are relieved that no one is hurt, we are disappointed that anyone would call out the emergency services on a day like today, knowing it to be a hoax”.

“They could have put people’s lives at risk and diverted necessary search and rescue assets away from other work,” he said.

Read: Kitesurfer rescued from extreme weather conditions in Dublin Bay >

Watch: RNLI captures year of Irish rescues on video >

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Christine Bohan

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