Bullet-riddled US Coastguard dinghy sparks mystery

RNLI crews from Tobermory discovered the small craft off the island of Muck. Picture: PA

RNLI crews from Tobermory discovered the small craft off the island of Muck. Picture: PA

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A BULLET-riddled US Coastguard dinghy was at the centre of a Transatlantic mystery today after being found drifting upturned off the West coast of Scotland.

The small craft was recovered today by the crew of the RNLI lifeboat at Tobermory.

Tobermory’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat, Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey, was launched shortly before 9.30am this morning following the sighting of an upturned dinghy south of Muck in the Small Isles.

Station spokesman Sam Jones said: “On arrival at the scene, the volunteer crew discovered and righted an aluminium 14 foot dinghy with US Coastguard certification markings. The dinghy appeared to have been in the water for some time and also had what appeared to be bullet holes through the transom and sides.

“Stornoway Coastguard was informed of the situation and the lifeboat recovered the dinghy to Tobermory. The Receiver of Wrecks has been notified.”

The crew who recovered the mystery dinghy had been on their third call out since Monday night. They had previously been called out yesterday following a report of a person in the water off the north west coast of Tiree. The person was found safe and well, having already swum ashore.

And on Monday night the lifeboat was launched following a report of a large orange object floating off the Isle of Muck, 14 miles north of Tobermory. The crew was stood down after finding a large semi-inflated orange marker or buoy approximately five miles south of the Isle of Muck.

Said Mr Jones: “Fortunately this turned out to be a false alarm with good intent. We’re not entirely sure what the object is. Theories range from a ocean racing marker to a naval target.”

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