FIVE lifeboats carried out an extensive search of the Dee Estuary following a distress beacon alert late on Tuesday night.

RNLI crews from Rhyl, Llandudno, Flint and Hoylake launched the inshore and all-weather boats in response to the alert, which was made at about 11.40pm.

They spent more than eight hours searching for the source of the alert, however the volunteer rescuers were stood down after there were no findings.

RNLI area manager Chris Gaskin said there is “no current indication” that the lifeboats need to be relaunched.

“A distress beacon alert prompted a major search for RNLI lifeboats from Flint, Rhyl, Llandudno and Hoylake, with lifeboats launching late last night and returning to their respective stations this morning,” an RNLI spokesperson said.

“Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats from Rhyl were involved in the search, with the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Anthony Kenneth Heard launching at 11.41pm and returning at 6.40am this morning.

“The inshore lifeboat Mary Maxwell and its volunteer crew joined the search for an hour and a half, launching just after 5am this morning.

“Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged at 11.44pm and the station’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood launched to carry out extensive searches for over six hours in Liverpool Bay and the mouth of the Dee Estuary.

“The lifeboat was stood down when the search concluded and was washed down, refuelled and made ready for service again by 8.15am.

“The Coastguard requested the launch of Llandudno’s all-weather lifeboat just before midnight, with William F Yates and her crew launching by 12.11am and returning just after 7am.

“Flint’s inshore RNLI lifeboat The Lady Barbara launched at 12.15am and searched out into the River Dee.”

Mr Gaskin said: ‘This was a very long and arduous search for many of the RNLI crews, who spent many hours in darkness conducting a thorough search.

“Our crews are all volunteers, many of whom will be returning to their day jobs this morning, so being involved in a long tasking such as this really is testament to their skill and dedication.

“Nothing was found on this occasion and there is no current indication that the lifeboats will launch again at present, but our crews are always ready to respond whenever the call for help comes.”