Emergency services, including the RAF Sea king helicopter, were tied up for close to seven hours by a suspected hoax call which put ‘lives at risk’, a coastguard has said.
Crews were scrambled to the wooded area near Cornelian Bay on Thursday after three separate people heard a man’s voice shouting for help.
Despite a six hour search no trace of a person in distress could be found, leading authorities to believe that it could have been a deliberate hoax.
Tony Dyer, Scarborough Coastguard deputy station manager, said that if it was a hoax then the person had put lives at risk.
He told the Scarborough News: “It was a huge operation, we had the helicopter there for 90 minutes to two hours, it is the only helicopter for our region so if that is tied up at a hoax then it can’t be at a genuine call out. “There is no doubt that lives were put at risk with so many crews on one call that looks to be some sort of joke or prank.
“Three people heard the cries for help, it seems like it was a deliberate act.
“I cannot even begin to estimate the monetary cost of the entire search.”
The search started just after 1pm and involved police officers, police dogs and members of Scarborough, Filey and Burniston coastguards.
When no person was found the helicopter was called in to widen the search.
At 4pm the helicopter was stood down and police enlisted the services of 21 members of the Scarborough and Ryedlae Mountain Rescue Team (SRMRT) to take over.
A spokesman for the SRMRT said: “The Team were called to conduct searches in the wooded steep ground south of Knipe Point and along the Cleveland Way path. #
“After searching all requested area without result the team was stood down at approximately 7.45pm.”