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July 27 2013.

Volunteers from Newhaven Lifeboat Station were launched last night at 9.32pm to 999 calls of red flares being launched to the west of Newhaven close to the shore line.

Newhaven's Severn Class Lifeboat David and Elizabeth Acland made the short journey to the western breakwater at Newhaven Harbour after numerous 999 calls had been made to HM Coastguard about several red flares in the sky. In addition to the 999 calls, volunteers from the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) had also seen these flares from their watch tower over looking Newhaven and Seaford.

Red flares are routinely carried by vessels at sea and are launched to indicate a vessel or persons in distress and in need of immediate help.

Working with HM Coastguard to search the shore the lifeboat launched its inflatable Y boat allowing a more comprehensive search in the shallow, rocky waters.

During the search officers from HM Coastguard who were searching the cliff tops sighted another flare coming from The Highway, Newhaven and made their way straight there.

Having conducted a thorough search from the harbour wall to the start of the under cliff walk at Peacehaven, Newhaven lifeboat was thanked and stood down from the search. The lifeboat recovered the Y boat and returned to the station.

Crew member James Day said 'We would never discourage anyone from calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard if they saw a red flare. You may have been the only person to see it and the only opportunity to summon help'

The lifeboat was washed down and ready for service at 10.55pm