The sighting of a ‘red flare’ which led to a multi-agency search of the sea near Aberdeen may have actually been a meteor, the city’s coastguard has suggested.
Officers from Aberdeen, Stonehaven and Cruden Bay joined the Aberdeen RNLI’s two lifeboats to investigate multiple reports of a flare at around 9pm last night.
The boats scanned the mouth of the River Dee and out to half a mile offshore, while six search teams consisting of 29 coastguard volunteers looked on land between Torry Battery and Burnbanks Village.
The teams were eventually stood down when nothing was found.
A post detailing the operation on the Aberdeen City and Shire Coastguard team’s social media this evening suggested the ‘flare’ may, in fact, have had its origins in outer space.
They wrote on Facebook: “This particular evening had seen numerous meteor shower sightings across the country which, in some circumstances, can appear to imitate the appearance of Marine Distress Flares.”
The Twitter account UK Meteor Network did report some activity in the night sky yesterday.
Last night we got some really interesting meteors pic.twitter.com/cBYM51H228
— UK Meteor Network (@UKMeteorNetwork) February 19, 2021
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At the start of this month, a large-scale search was launched from Fraserburgh harbour after a red flare was reported.
Red flares are recognised around the world as a distress signal for those at sea, and after a flare is spotted, the coastguard will always assume someone is in trouble until they can determine otherwise.
In their Facebook post, the Aberdeen Coastguard team said: “We would encourage the public to report sightings of potential distress flares as this could well indicate that vessels or persons are in need of immediate assistance.”