Inflatable Penguins Spark Air / Sea Rescue

The Penguin Post has learned that an air and sea rescue in Scotland was called off after the “casualties” turned out to be two inflatable penguins. Coastguard and lifeboat teams, along with a rescue helicopter, were scrambled after an elderly member of the public thought a light aircraft had ditched into the sea. He thought large objects he saw glinting in the sun were the wreckage of the plane. On reaching the scene, the rescuers discovered what he had seen were two large inflatable penguins. Victor Sutherland, the coxswain of Fraserburgh lifeboat who led the rescue operation, said: “It was very unusual. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before. “We were called in after a man dialed 999 (the U.K. equivalent to 911)  to say he was sure a plane had crash-landed in the sea. “But when we got there all we found were the two penguins. They were pretty large and could easily be seen from the shore. It was a false alarm but with good intentions.” The alarm was raised on Tuesday afternoon when the member of the public spotted a mirco-light aircraft flying off the coast in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. A few minutes later, it vanished from view. The man could find no trace of it and decided to call for help when he saw what he thought was debris. After contacting the coastguard, the RNLI lifeboat team was dispatched along with a Sea King helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth. Local fishing boats also went to the area. The rescuers swept the sea for more than an hour. But the search was called off after the penguins, which were about four feet high and semi-inflated, were found. Mr Sutherland, who has been with the lifeboat team for 14 years, said: “There was no debris and no sign of any aircraft coming down. The coastguard spoke to all the local aviation people and no-one was overdue. There was no reason to keep searching.” The two penguins have been “adopted” by the lifeboat team and given a home at their station. Despite the false alarm, Mr Sutherland does not want anyone to be put off from calling in the coastguard. “It would have been a costly exercise, but the man did the right thing,” he said. “The aircraft disappeared and as far as he was concerned didn’t come up again. “Anything could have happened out there so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Anyone in the same situation should do the same and dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.” The elderly man, who did not want to be named, was with family members when he raised the alarm. He declined to comment, but his cousin, Jean Downie, 71, said: “My cousin is very embarrassed about the whole thing. So I went to the lifeboat station to say sorry to them all for their trouble, and check in on the penguins.” An air and sea rescue was called off after the “casualties” turned out to be two inflatable penguins. Coastguard and lifeboat teams, along with a rescue helicopter, were scrambled after an elderly member of the public thought a light aircraft had ditched into the sea. He thought large objects he saw glinting in the sun were the wreckage of the plane. On reaching the scene, the rescuers discovered what he had seen were two balloons shaped like penguins. Victor Sutherland, the coxswain of Fraserburgh lifeboat who led the rescue operation, said: “It was very unusual. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before. “We were called in after a man dialed 999 (the U.K. equivalent to 911) to say he was sure a plane had crash-landed in the sea. “But when we got there all we found were the two penguins. They were pretty large and could easily be seen from the shore. It was a false alarm but with good intentions.” The alarm was raised on Tuesday afternoon when the member of the public spotted a microlight aircraft flying off the coast in Fraserburgh.  A few minutes later, it vanished from view. The man could find no trace of it and decided to call for help when he saw what he thought was debris. After contacting the coastguard, the RNLI lifeboat team was dispatched along with a Sea King helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth. Local fishing boats also went to the area. The rescuers swept the sea for more than an hour. But the search was called off after the penguins, which were about four feet high and semi-inflated, were found. Mr Sutherland, who has been with the lifeboat team for 14 years, said: “There was no debris and no sign of anyone coming down. The coastguard spoke to all the local aviation people and no-one was overdue. There was no reason to keep searching.” The two penguins have been “adopted” by the lifeboat team and given a home at their station. Despite the false alarm, Mr Sutherland does not want anyone to be put off from calling in the coastguard. “It would have been a costly exercise, but the man did the right thing,” he said. “The aircraft disappeared and as far as he was concerned didn’t come up again. “Anything could have happened out there so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Anyone in the same situation should do the same and dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.” The elderly man, who did not want to be named, was with family members when he raised the alarm.He declined to comment, but his cousin, Jean Downie, 71, said: “My cousin is very embarrassed about the whole thing. So I went to the lifeboat station to say sorry to them all for their trouble, and check on the penguins.”

Penguin Rescue Copter

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