Highlands & Islands

RNLI warning over 'Storm Loch Ness' monster hunt

Loch Ness Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The waters of Loch Ness are deep and cold, the RNLI has warned

A suggestion for a mass search for the Loch Ness Monster later this year has gone viral on social media, and caused concern for the RNLI.

On Facebook, about 18,000 people say they are going to a Storm Loch Ness event with 38,000 "interested".

It has been inspired by Storm Area 51, an idea tens of thousands of people could storm a US Air Force base to uncover the truth to a UFO conspiracy.

But Loch Ness RNLI is warning of the dangers of the loch's deep water.

Concerned that hundreds, or even thousands, of people head out on to the loch for Storm Loch Ness on 21 September, the volunteer crew said it could not match the resources being used by the US military to deal with Storm Area 51.

Image copyright RNLI Loch Ness
Image caption Loch Ness RNLI says its "impressive lifeboat" would struggle if large numbers of people got into difficulty

A spokeswoman said: "With no US Army involved, Loch Ness looks a little less hazardous than storming Area 51, but here we have our own set of problems.

"Our Atlantic 85 lifeboat has an impressive survivor-carrying capacity, but even that will be stretched by the 'attendees' of this event."

The spokeswoman said "jokes aside" some "quick facts" about Loch Ness revealed how dangerous its water can be.

They include its depth being almost two and a half times the height of the Big Ben tower, and the temperature being an average 6C.

She also said that conditions could deteriorate quickly on the loch with wave heights of 4m (13ft) recorded and, because it is freshwater, it is less buoyant than the sea if someone ends up in the loch and tries to float.

Loch Ness RNLI crew has signed off its warning with: "Nessie 1 - 0 Bandwagon."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tens of thousands have indicated interest in "storming" Loch Ness to find Nessie