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Police asked to explain why Tay Road Bridge incident search took so long to get off ground

Tay Road Bridge.
Tay Road Bridge.

Police are still trying to identify a man following an incident on the Tay Road Bridge on New Year’s Day.

The force received reports of concern for the man on the crossing at about 3.40pm on Monday, who was seen entering the walkway from the Dundee side.

The incident sparked an air and sea search of the River Tay on Monday which went on well into the evening, with a UK Coastguard helicopter drafted in from Prestwick to help.

Both the Broughty Ferry lifeboats were launched along with coastguard rescue teams from Carnoustie and St Andrews; with a large area between Monifieth and Tayport searched.

However no searches took place on Tuesday.

And many questioned why the river search for the man, who was near the Fife end of the bridge when spotted, took so long to get off the ground.

A passerby is said to have reported the man on the bridge at about 3.40pm. Staff at the Tay Road Bridge announced the route was closed to southbound traffic just after 4.15pm as a result of the incident.

However the UK Coastguard did not receive a call to assist the force until after 6pm. It subsequently requested the help of both Broughty Ferry lifeboats just before 6.30pm.

One Tayport man, who was caught up in the Tay Road Bridge traffic, said: “I thought the incident must have been over with but then about 7pm or 8pm my wife heard the search helicopter overhead and it was still flying around a couple of hours later.

“It seems odd there was such a gap between the bridge closing and the helicopter being scrambled.”

Police are believed to have carried out inquiries with others who had been on the bridge prior to requesting the assistance of the coastguard.

Tayside Police Division were approached for comment on its response to the incident.

Officers said they are yet to receive reports of a missing man matching the description of the person.

He was said to be white, in his 50s and wearing a dark, “tammy style” hat, a large black winter coat, a dark green jumper or shirt, grey jeans and black shoes. He was smoking a cigarette made from a tobacco pouch.

Last night the UK Coastguard said no searches of the River Tay had taken place on Tuesday.

A spokesman added: “We received the call at 6.06pm (on Monday). The last of our team was stood down last night at 10.40pm.”

He said they would only be back out if “further information” came to light or if police request assistance.

A Tayside Police Division statement said: “Police Scotland is appealing for information about an incident that happened on the Tay Road Bridge around 3.40pm yesterday (January 1).

“We have not had any persons reported missing to us who match this description at this time, and we need to identify who he is, along with trying to find him.

“If you have any information which could help us, please call 101 or speak to any Police officer. Our reference is CR/76/18.”

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