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Rescue operation after flares let off in River Medway between Rochester Bridge and M2 motorway bridge

By Lynn Cox

A massive search of the River Medway was launched last night after four emergency flares were set off on the River Medway between the bridges.

The emergency services had several 999 calls from people reporting they had seen the flares go off in the sky between Rochester Bridge and the M2 Motorway Bridge.

The Coastguard were called shortly before 9pm and said people were reporting up to four Red Parachute Flares had been let off.

Rochester Bridge
Rochester Bridge

The Medway Coastguard Rescue Team, along with the Sheerness RNLI Inshore Lifeboat crew, were sent to search together with police.

The teams, along with firefighters, carried out a thorough search along the River Medway and on both the Rochester and Strood sides of the shore between the bridges.

They also searched two miles down tide past Cuxton, but found nothing.

“Children need to be aware the flares are class one explosives and are not toys" - Richard Rodgers

After about two hours they left the area.

The incident may have possibly been started by children mucking about with the flares.

Richard Rodgers, deputy station officer for the Medway Coastguard team, said: “There is a possibility youngsters may have set off the flares after finding them on a boat.

“Children need to be aware the flares are class one explosives and are not toys.

“The flares could do serious damage and they are for emergency use only.”

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