No Army flare up over Moray Firth rescue false alarm

Lifeboat was launched on Sunday morning

Police Scotland are to ensure that coastguards are kept informed when flares are to be used for military exercised in Moray following the unnecessary launch of the Buckie Lifeboat at the weekend.

A coastguard team and the lifeboat were launched after several residents spotted flares being launched – causing them to believe that there was a maritime emergency on the Moray Firth.

However, it transpired that the flares had been used by an exercising Army Reserve unit operating in the area of Lossie Forest over the weekend.

Aberdeen Coastguard had not been informed of the exercise – but it has transpired that the correct procedures were followed by the Army as the type of flares used did not include red ‘emergency’ flares.

An Army spokeswoman confirmed that an investigation had been held into the alert caused by troops from the 51st Highland 7th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

That had found no wrongdoing on the part of the Army, the spokeswoman saying: “The unit received authority to use flares and Police Scotland were informed.

“It is not standard practice to contact the Coastguard as the unit was not carrying out any water-based activity.

“I can confirm that no red flares were used and, therefore, the unit was in their rights to use the flares during the exercise.”

It is understood that to avoid similar confusion in future Police Scotland will inform the Coastguard of any similar exercises taking place.

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