Burnham-on-Sea RNLI volunteers tasked to a ‘hot air balloon in distress’

Lifeboats News Release

Our volunteer crews were paged by Milford Haven Coastguard at 5.33 pm on Thursday evening (27th May), to investigate a report of a hot air balloon possibly going into the water near Kilve Beach.

Burnham RNLI helmsman Stuart shows off the recovered balloons

RNLI/Mike Lang

Burnham RNLI helmsman Stuart shows off the recovered balloons

The Burnham-on-Sea Atlantic 85 lifeboat , Doris Day and Brian, was speedily launched, and proceeded to the target area.

Milford coastguard requested a shoreline search between Hinkley Point and Lillestock beach, plus a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from St Athan had been tasked to assist with the search. The Watchet Coastguard rescue team also contributed to the search from the cliff tops.

The Burnham crew searched diligently, in the knowledge that someone's life could be endangered.

Objects were spotted on the shoreline by the crew, who discovered on approach that it was indeed a helium birthday balloon of ‘21’, about 3ft in size and there was a plastic bread basket floating beside it.

After more searching, the lifeboat crew was stood down and the lifeboat returned to Burnham-on-Sea, for recovery, cleaning and sanitising by the station volunteers.

Watchet Coastguard rescue team, on their social media page, defined the incident as a call wth good intent, as from the distance that the first informant had seen the balloons falling, could have been easily mistaken as a hot air balloon. On such a beautiful evening it would have been ideal environment for hot air balloons in the sky

The Coastguard continued; ‘The informant did exactly the right thing and within seconds of calling 999 and asking for the coastguard, rescue teams, Lifeboats & Rescue Helicopters were being despatched to the area.’

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Images with this release:

File name: balloons_and_basket (RNLI/Mike Lang)

Burnham RNLI helmsman Stuart shows off the recovered balloons

File name: coastguard_watching (Simon Bale -Watchet Coastguard)

A coastguard recue team member regards the searching helicopter

File name: coastguard_on_cliff (Simon Bale -Watchet Coastguard)

HM coastguard on the cliif edge surveys the scene

Lifeboats in service at Burnham-on-Sea:

A 7.5m Atlantic 75 named Doris Day and Brian plus a smaller 4.95m D class IB1 inflatable named Burnham Reach The station was opened officially on 15th May 2004, but has been operational since December 2003.

Note During 2019 the RNLI was facing a ‘perfect storm’, with a reduced income and an increase in demand for it’s services. During 2020 and 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic, fundraising has been severely reduced by a national lockdown, yet the lifeboats have still been launched 24/7 in their strategy to save lives at sea.

Click this link to donate; https://rnli.org/support-us/give-money/give-to-a-special-appeal/summer-appeal

RNLI media contacts

For more information about this release please telephone Mike Lang, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07889 815860 or email mike.lang@btinternet.com,

In the absence of the above, contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

Alternatively, telephone Amy Caldwell RNLI Public Relations Manager (South) Tel: 07920 818 807, Amy_Caldwell@rnli.org.uk.


A coastguard recue team member regards the searching helicopter

(Simon Bale - Watchet Coastguard)

A coastguard recue team member regards the searching helicopter
HM coastguard on the cliif edge surveys the scene

(Simon Bale - Watchet Coastguard)

HM coastguard on the cliif edge surveys the scene

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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