A rescue helicopter was deployed alongside Eastbourne RNLI early this morning following a report that a car had gone over the cliff at Beachy Head.
Dover Coastguard received the initial call via a mobile phone call from two people aboard a small rowing dinghy who observed the wreck of a car beneath the cliffs.
Fearing that people might have survived the fall and were trapped inside, a full search and rescue scenario was initiated. Both Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboats were launched along with coastguard cliff rescue units and a 163 rescue helicopter, but the incident was a false alarm.
While the other rescue services were searching between Holywell and Birling Gap, Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat located the first informants, who were still in the area, to obtain more information.
On further questioning by the lifeboat crew, the first informants revealed they had not seen the car fall, but had simply reported the vehicle on the beach.
The volunteer crew of the Eastbourne inshore lifeboat went ashore to investigate and confirmed the wreck at the location given by the informants was from a previous incident some time ago.
The rescue services were stood down with thanks from Dover Coastguard, and the incident logged as a false alarm with good intent.
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