An empty rowing boat seen drifting 100 metres off Norman’s Bay prompted a major search by both Eastbourne lifeboats Wednesday night (9 May)
Initially Eastbourne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) was called upon by Dover Coastguard to investigate the drifting dinghy and search the area for any possible missing person. Having recovered the dinghy and conducted a fruitless search of the immediate area it was considered likely that the dinghy had either been washed from the beach in the exceptionally high tides or had been cast adrift by vandals. On the verge of returning to station, confusing accounts were received from shore indicating that a person had been seen in the suspect boat earlier. With this new information, and with darkness closing in, Eastbourne’s allweather lifeboat (ALB) was scrambled to join the search.
A comprehensive search was initiated, taking account of wind and tide directions. Eventually after over two hours with nothing found both boats were stood down and returned to station. Following further investigation it was assumed that the sighting of a person in the boat was likely to have been a volunteer ILB crewman investigating the initial call. The second part of the search and launch of the ALB was logged as a false alarm with good intent.