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Littlestone Lifeboat Station issue warning after rescuing pink inflatable flamingo from the sea


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An emergency call was made to a lifeboat after a pink inflatable flamingo was seen drifting across the sea.

Volunteers from Littlestone Lifeboat Station, on Romney Marsh, were paged for the rescue mission after a 'pink object' was seen in the water.

RNLI volunteers John Ruffhead (helm), Heather Crittenden (trainee helm) and Josh Spiers (boat crew), who helped rescue a pink flamingo from the sea. Picture: Littlestone Lifeboat Station/Adrian Easterling
RNLI volunteers John Ruffhead (helm), Heather Crittenden (trainee helm) and Josh Spiers (boat crew), who helped rescue a pink flamingo from the sea. Picture: Littlestone Lifeboat Station/Adrian Easterling

The HM Coastguard in Folkestone was also called at around 6pm yesterday.

At first the team didn't know what was in the sea, be it a swimmer in trouble, or an animal in need of help.

But on arrival they learnt it was an inflatable.

The crew have now issued a warning, asking for beach goers to leave inflatables at home, and save them for pools only.

A spokesman for Littlestone lifeboat said: "Our duty crew members launched to a large pink inflatable drifting across the bay.

The crew think it will be a busy summer, with more people holidaying at home. Photo: RNLI/Gavin Munnings
The crew think it will be a busy summer, with more people holidaying at home. Photo: RNLI/Gavin Munnings

"The inflatable was recovered and the boat returned to station and made ready for the next call.

"Please try and leave inflatables at home, they're not safe on the beach and especially in an offshore wind.

"When we get the call after a sighting we don't know if it's a lone pink swan on its holidays or somebody in serious trouble after becoming separated."

The team also joked that the owner can now collect the flamingo in exchange for a packet of biscuits.

The spokesman added: "By the way, if you own the toy and want it back it's at the Littlestone Lifeboat Station.

"Nobody will be judged and we know mistakes happen although a packet of biscuits for the crew is always welcomed."

The team from Littlestone were also called yesterday after a kayaker was spotted in the water, but they made their way back to shore by themselves.

A spokesman from HM Coastguard Folkestone added: "We were tasked twice yesterday, initially to a kayaker who made his own way ashore then again to this 'pink object' seen heading across the bay until it was safely captured by our colleagues from Littlestone Lifeboat

"Luckily this time there was no-one on it but please save inflatables for the pool and don't take them to the beach."

The lifeboat crew think they are in for a busy summer along the coast, with more people planning to holiday in the UK this year.

In a coastal emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Read more: All the latest news from Romney Marsh

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