Thursday 21 September 2017

'A false alarm with good intent' - Barking seal sparks massive search operation of Howth coast

Wild about the Wild Atlantic Way: A grey seal underwater
Wild about the Wild Atlantic Way: A grey seal underwater
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A barking seal is believed to have sparked a massive search operation off the coast of Howth early on Tuesday morning.

A passerby alerted the Dublin Coast Guard after hearing what he thought was a cry for help from someone believed to have fallen into the water near the Sutton Dingy Club on Monday night.

A Coast Guard helicopter and search team from Howth as well as the RNLI lifeboats from Howth and Dún Laoghaire and gardai were dispatched to the scene and resumed the search again at low tide around 3:30am.

The search was stood down around two hours later but resumed at 4pm on Tuesday, involving up to 40 personnel.

However after no one was found and gardai did not receive any reports of a missing person, the Coast Guard believe the cry for help was actually a barking seal, which can sound like a human cry, a Coast Guard spokesman told Independent.ie.

“We put it down to a false alarm with good intent,” he said.

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