Larne prank could have cost lives in 1990

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The Coastguard issued a warning to would-be pranksters after a flare was set off as a joke in August 1990.

The flare was set off in-land, but the alarm was raised that the distress signal had come from the sea.

The Coastguard, assisted by the Bangor Lifeboat, rushed to the scene, where they searched for over an hour for a boat which they believed to be in trouble.

They searched the harbour and found that all the boats were accounted for. It was then they realised that there had not been an emergency.

The Coastguard said that it had been a “thoughtless prank which could have put lives at risk,” and urged others not to joke around in the same way as lives could have been put at risk.

While the emergency services were searching for a boat that they believed to be in distress, a light aircraft had got into difficulty. Fortunately, the pilot was able to bring the plane to safety, but the Coastguard said that the situation could have been a lot worse.

The same week, the district judge at Larne Magistrates Court urged football hooligans to stay away from games after a man received a three-month sentence for football related trouble.