JUST before Santa was due to arrive at Mullaghmore Pier on Sunday afternoon, the lifeboat on which he was travelling was called away to ‘an emergency’ that turned out be a hoax.
Crew and volunteers from Bundoran RNLI had arranged for Santa to make an early visit to Mullghamore at 2pm on Sunday. It was meant to be a fun event for all the family with entertainment, face painting and presents for the children at The Pier Hotel.
However, just as the celebrations were getting underway, a caller rang the 999 emergency services to report that a boat had capsized near Donegal town and four people people were in the water. A spokesperson for Malin Head Coast Guard Marine Rescue said they received the distress call at 1.38pm. “The caller told us that a child was stuck under the boat: he was convincing.”
Bundoran RNLI, Killybegs Coast Guard and the Rescue 118 Helicopter from Sligo all sped to the scene, but as they arrived, the call was declared to be a hoax. “It was a nasty incident,” the Malin Head spokesperson commented.
Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launching Authority Patrick O’Doherty said “It’s sad that people still get a kick out of making hoax calls to the rescue services. Not one but three services were tasked on this occasion making them all unavailable should a real call for a real emergency have come in. The gardaí have been informed about this and will no doubt make their own enquiries.”
Following the incident the Bundoran Lifeboat crew carried on to their original destination of Mullaghmore Pier where they joined in the fun with Santa and the boys and girls of the area.