862/2023 Red Flare Sighting


The crew were alerted by Guernsey Coastguard at 0754hrs following a request from Jersey Coastguard, after a report of two red flares being sighted somewhere between Jersey and France at 0720hrs. No further information was available.

Lions' Pride departed Guernsey from runway 27 at 0850hrs, and set course for Jersey. Jersey Coastguard requested that a search be carried out from the South East Corner of Jersey, starting a La Rocque, and tracking towards Granville on a heading of 138 degrees. The RNLI St Catherine's Inshore Lifeboat was searching in the area of Violet Bank, as was the Fisheries RIB, Ecrehous.

The search was commenced at 0910hrs at an altitude of 500 feet AMSL and contact was made with MRCC Jobourg on VHF Ch. 68.

There were several vessels at sea in the search area, and the crew were able to use the Wescam to good effect, zooming in on visual contacts several miles away to confirm there were no signs of distress, and the vessels were making way. Being able to do this meant the aircraft did not have to deviate from its search pattern, thus carrying out the search more effectively.

The tide was almost at low water, and visibility was good, although restricted slightly in the showers. The sea was smooth with little swell, and the tide was running North West.

Arriving at Granville at 0921hrs, MRCC Jobourg provided co-ordinates for a step-ladder search, starting near Granville, initially heading North West, with a mean line of advance North East. Lion's Pride was tasked to search using 25NM search legs and 2NM track spacing. The search was flown at an altitude of 500ft AMSL and a speed of 120 KTS.

Several more contacts were sighted and discounted, both visually and with the Wescam. The St Catherine's ILB and Ecrehous were stood down just before 1000hrs, and Lions' Pride continued searching.

Having been airborne for almost two and a half hours, and searching an area of approximately 250 sq m, MRCC Jobourg stood the crew down, declaring the incident a false alarm.

Lion's Pride landed in Jersey for refuelling, landing at 1120hrs before returning to Guernsey, where it was made ready for service.

Tags: Launch reports