Dumped beacon sparks RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter search

A search for a falsely activated emergency beacon, has prompted a reminder from the Sunshine Coast’s RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew, about how to correctly dispose of the devices.

The crew was tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) around 10.45 this morning, in response to the distress signal.

The chopper conducted an aerial search, covering a number of Sunshine Coast suburbs, before narrowing down the location to the Noosa dump.

The pilot then landed the helicopter, so the aircrew could use a hand-held locator device to track down the EPIRB, which appeared to be around a decade old.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews have been tasked on several searches this year, that have led to falsely activated beacons at rubbish dumps, across South East Queensland.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Aircrew Officer Dan King urged locals to not simply throw out expired beacons, but to instead take them to certain battery stores, where staff can safely disconnect and dispose of them.

“A lot of people mistakenly think they’re doing the right thing when they throw an expired beacon in the rubbish bin or take it to the dump,” Mr King said.

“However, this isn’t correct disposal and leads to many beacons being falsely activated at dumps or in rubbish bins. This is the second activation at Noosa dump, we’ve responded to, this year,” he said.

“Please take them to a battery shop, such as Battery World, where staff can then dispose of them correctly.”

“While RACQ LifeFlight Rescue will always swiftly respond to distress calls, this is a simple thing you can do to save critical resources from being involved in false searches.”

Mr King also reminded people to consider upgrading to newer beacons, which transmit more accurate locations and can be registered to a phone number.

“Register your details with AMSA and if for some reason the beacon gets inadvertently activated, they can call you directly, before sending out search aircraft.”

Find out more information on the proper disposal of beacons on the AMSA website: www.amsa.gov.au/beacons