Exmouth RNLI lifeboats launch for swimmers in difficulty turns out to be a hoax call

Brixham Coastguards were called on Saturday 10 October, by a man referring to himself as ‘Simon James’ who reported seeing two swimmers in difficulty in the Exe Estuary. It later turned out to be a hoax call.

Exmouth RNLI all-weather lifeboat, the inshore lifeboat George Bearman and another boat were tasked at 9.01am to look for the swimmers while ambulance services were put on alert.

After an hour of searching, Brixham Coastguards became suspicious when they received a second call to say the swimmers were safe and well at lock gates, a place name not recognised locally.

When they tried to call the man back on his mobile, he could not be reached. It transpired that the call was made from a pay as you go phone bought only days earlier and were the only two calls made, both to the emergency services.

Mark Clark, The Maritime & Coastguard Agency Duty Press Officer said; “If anyone has any information on this incident they can contact Brixham Coastguards in confidence on 01803 882704.”

Exmouth RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Neil Hurlock said; “The lifeboat will always respond, because that is what they do. This hoax caller created an awful waste of valuable volunteer’s time and resources as well as the publics money that funds the RNLI charity.”