Major search operation launched after life raft spotted drifting 27 miles out from Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells lifeboat and shed.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Wells lifeboat and shed.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A major search operation was launched today after a life raft was spotted drifting 27 miles off the coast of Wells-next-the-Sea.

UK Coastguard requested for a lifeboat to be sent out to the scene along with a rescue helicopter shortly before midday.

But at 12.10pm, a tanker, which first spotted the raft, radioed to say its crew had recovered the vessel and no one was found aboard.

The raft was identified as coming from the unmanned rig West Sole Charlie, and efforts were made to contact its operators for more information.

After the coastguard was unable to make contact, the rescue helicopter was diverted to the rig for a visual check.

No issues were found and all vessels were stood down at 12.27pm.

The all-weather lifeboat, Doris M Mann of Ampthill, arrived back at Wells Lifeboat Station at 1:40pm.

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