Balloons spark rescue alert off Suffolk coast

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 21 August 2019

The crew of the RNLI Lifeboat at Aldeburgh head out on to the North Sea for a training exercise

The crew of the RNLI Lifeboat at Aldeburgh head out on to the North Sea for a training exercise


Lifeboats were called out to Thorpeness on Monday afternoon only to find that a potential casualty in the water was not what it first appeared.

Aldeburgh RNLI had been taking part in the town's annual carnival when they received a call to help at around 2.30pm after concerns that a casualty was drifting out to sea on a rubber raft off the Suffolk coast.

Two boats, the all-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper and the inshore lifeboat Susan Scott were launched to track down the individual.

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However on arrival the crews found three balloons, two yellow and one black, rather than a casualty.

Aldeburgh RNLI Coxswain Steve Saint said: "There is a visual similarity between a balloon and a person in the water, from the shoreline, which cannot be dismissed.

"We therefore must launch to investigate, even though it is a false alarm with good intent."

After recovering the balloons from the water, both boats were stood down and taken back to the station at 5.05pm.

Last month emergency services were called to Felixstowe beach after concerns that a microlight aircraft had crashed into the beach. It turned out to be a silver balloon.

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