Breaking News First reported by Island Echo

HOAX PROBE AFTER SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATION OFF THE EAST WIGHT

UPDATED: An investigation has been launched into what is feared to be a hoax alert which sparked a search and rescue operation off the East Wight earlier this evening (Saturday).

Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat was tasked to launch by Solent Coastguard from the National Maritime Operations Centre at around 17:15.

At the same time Coastguard Rescue 175 helicopter was scrambled from Lee-on-Solent and began a search up and down the coast of the East Wight.

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The lifeboat searched the shoreline between Sandown and St Catherine’s Point, however, the search was stood down by 19:00.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency believe the incident to be a hoax and are investigating the origins of the faux call for help.

UPDATE – It has been confirmed that a fake Mayday call, played over VHF airwaves, sparked this evening’s emergency response.

The recording was taken from a YouTube video and said “Mayday, help we are sinking”.

A spokesperson for the MCA has said:

”It’s not the first time it’s happened.

“The broadcast was later confirmed as a recording from YouTube, and a hoax, but we have to treat it as genuine when it comes in”.

The Mayday was heard from the Bonchurch aerial so it’s thought the hoaxer is local to the area.

Hampshire Constabulary have been informed of the incident.

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